EARTH 380 Discussion Syllabus 2017.pdf

EARTH 380 Discussion Syllabus 2017.pdf - EARTH ENVIRON 380...

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EARTH/ ENVIRON 380: Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment Fall 2017 Discussion Section FRIDAY 9:00 – 10:00 am and FRIDAY 10:00 – 11:00 am GSI: Bhuvan Neema Email: [email protected] Office hours: Tue 5:30-6:30pm and Thu 5:30-6:30pm in Ford Commons, Dana Building (440 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109) Other GSIs and office hours: Brian Konecke: [email protected] (Mon 12-1 pm in 2512 CCL; Wed 12-1 pm in 2512 CCL) Gephen Sadove: [email protected] (Mon 1-2pm and Wed 1-2 pm in CCL 2512) James Jolles - [email protected] (Tu 2-3 pm and Wed 10-11 am in CCL 2512) The weekly discussion section will be used for each student to conduct a comprehensive assessment of switching the University of Michigan “off the electricity grid.” What does that mean? The UofM currently buys electricity from the local investor-owned utility company DTE Energy Company. We buy and consume almost 500,000,000 kiloWatt hours (kWh) of electricity each year. This is on top of the 250,000,000 kWh electricity that we generate on campus by combusting natural gas. I frequently hear students, faculty and staff ask questions such as “why don’t we just switch to renewables?” or make comments such as “it can’t be that hard be that hard to get rid of fossil fuels.”. I hear students, faculty and staff comment that switching to renewables “must be really expensive and that is why we don’t do it”, or “it is just not possible because of our climate”. Well, this semester you are going to answer these questions with a project based in fact and reality. You will learn how to digitally map the land footprints required for solar panels and wind turbines. You will learn how to evaluate the carbon footprint of our current fossil-fuel based electricity infrastructure and compare it with a realistic solar and wind carbon footprint. You will learn about internal versus external costs associated with electricity production. You
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