Sustainable & Fossil Energy


Sustainable and Fossil Energy: Options and Consequences 

June 12 - July 2, 2015 
3 credits




We are exposed on a daily basis to conflicting views on the options and consequences of various forms of energy production. Should the United States implement a “Manhattan Project” type of effort in alternate energy to free us from energy imports?  Can and should homeowners go “off the grid” and generate their own power?  Does “Clean Coal” live up to its name?  What are the costs and benefits of hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas?  What materials resources are necessary to produce renewable energy? Is energy from wind and solar really renewable? Is nuclear power worth the cost?  What is our national energy policy?  Have we reached a climate “tipping point”?  Are the new EPA coal and carbon dioxide rules worth the potential cost?  We live at a unique and dynamic moment when it comes to energy and climate issues, and these are just a few of the questions that must be addressed.  We believe energy literacy is a primary skill that all citizens need to navigate the transitions in energy production and usage that will be shaping our collective future world.   


This course will be taught at and near the University of Michigan’s Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The facility is situated near hydroelectric generators, wind farms, solar arrays, a nuclear reactor, gas fields, coal mines, uranium mines and geothermal areas.  If Wyoming were a country, it would be the 11th largest energy producer in the world.  The course will integrate lectures and group projects with visits to energy-related facilities in the Wyoming region (including parts of Idaho).  Students will benefit from seeing first-hand the engineering requirements, environmental impacts, social consequences and policy implications of a wide range of types of energy production.  Discussions will be held with individuals who work in these facilities and grapple with the complex issues related to energy production.  Students will also meet with political leaders and debate future energy policy options.


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Prof. Adam Simon U of M E&ES,  Mike Shriberg U of M GESI & PITE


Successful completion of college level course in science, math or another closely related subject.


Satisfies PITE field experience requirement. For a full list of requirements this course fulfills please click here.

Fees and Tuition

Fees:  Room/Board/Transportation $650 

Tuition: Tuition for three U-M credits and course fees must be paid directly to the University of Michigan and will be billed on or before June 30th, 2015. Guest students are charged upper division rates. Up to date tuition rates can be found at the U of M Registrar website. Departmental Financial Aid to help offset tuition cost is available for all qualified University of Michigan students. Please direct any questions to or call 734.615.8600.


Frequently Asked Questions
Please click the link above to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more info regarding Camp Davis.


Summer 2015 Application

To apply to the Camp Davis Program, click the link above and fill out the Application. You may be asked for recommendation letter from a current or former faculty member.

Acceptance into EARTH 344 requires evaluation by the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute.