Local Power Portfolio
This activity addresses the Energy Awareness Principle by having students explore how a municipality develops a diverse energy portfolio.
ContextThis is a stand-alone lab activity that can be used in an environmental geology course.
GoalsHelp students understand the positive and negative aspects of six primary energy types.
The goal of this exercise is to illustrate how each municipality needs to have a energy portfolio that is specific to their needs.
The students analyze a spreadsheet that links % of energy to 6 categories, cost, environmental impact, NIMBY, and three types of industrial emissions. As the students input % values for each energy type the overall value of each category is calculated.
The challenge is for the students to come up with energy plans for multiple cities. Each of these cities would have different limits on either the maximum % of an energy type or one of the specific categories.
Example: Detroit, Michigan would use a low cap on the cost category so their energy plan would need to be very affordable. Seattle, Washington would only allow for 2-3% solar because they don't have a lot of extra sun.
For the last portion of the activity the students would come up with a plan for their own town and then be able to look up the current plan at http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/how-clean.html. They could then discuss how their plan and the currently implemented plan compare.
Local Energy Portfolio Spreadsheet (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 64kB Jul1 11)
Students work with the spreadsheet to arrive at a satisfactory solution for their city. Each category must be complete and "problem" must be kept under the limits. Students would be asked to do a short write up comparing their proposed policy to the currently implemented policy in their town.
More on this topic from CLEAN
How to teach energy awareness from the CLEAN site
See CLEAN reviewed activities for teaching about energy awareness