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Integrated Energy Management

Director's Message

Welcome to the Institute for Integrated Energy Studies. My name is Dr. Elvin Delgado, and I am the Director of the Institute. I moved to Ellensburg and started my career here as an Assistant Professor of Geography in 2012. My background is as an energy geographer with thirteen years of experience researching the economic, social and environmental impacts of traditional oil extraction using salt in Venezula and Latin America.

We started exploring the possibility of the Institute in 2013. Our approach was a bit novel, in that we conducted listening sessions with business, government and non-profits to hear about their current and future workforce needs. We were surprised to find that regardless of how you serve the energy sector (e.g., developer, utility company, regulator, producer, etc.), three main educational and research needs were not being filled.  Until now.

The I2ES has two main pillars: (1) research and contract services (national and international); and (2) an interdisciplinary B.S. in integrated energy management with three specializations.  These specializations are: (1) integrated energy policy; (2) integrated energy business; and (3) integrated power systems.  The availability of business-hosted apprenticeships to encourage student immersion and applied learning is planned for student’s junior or senior years. Fall of 2015 is the anticipated start date for the degree program.

No other university in Washington State offers this particular type of interdisciplinary education in response to current and future professional work place needs.  I2ES addresses the pressing and severe need for quality and qualified employees of two large energy organizations in the State (Puget Sound Energy and Bonneville Power Administration) whose impending retirement in the next decade poses great challenges for the industry.  For example, a total of 1,070 employees will retire from Bonneville Power Administration between 2013 and 2017.  The decline in the size of the workforce in the energy sector is not unique of the State, but a similar trend can be seen in the United States at large.  A study regarding the aging workforce in the utility industry in United States conducted by the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center found that: (1) 57% of the respondents reported that the average age among their operations employees is 47-49; (2) 52% of respondents indicated that a sizeable percentage of existing employees are already eligible for retirement; and (3) 74% of respondents said that 40-60% of their employees will be eligible to retire after the next 5 years (page 2-12).  Establishing I2ES at CWU places the university in a position to be the only place in Washington State that trains energy managers with a trifocal approach considering the whole energy spectrum, and satisfies the market demand for such professionals in both private and public companies in the State.

This truly is an interdisciplinary effort both on the academic side of the Institute as well as the research and contracts side. Faculty representatives and their Chairs from Geography, Mathematics, English, Physics, Supply Chain Management, Geology, Communications, Information Technology and Administrative Management, Engineering Technologies and Economics, to name a few, are committed to the success of the I2ES.

And there is more to come. In the near future we envision a second and third phase to the academic pillar of the I2ES.  The second phase entails making the courses available in the Puget Sound area (both online and in multimodal form), creating a 2+2 pathway (2 years of courses at one of CWU's eight west side centers or on-line followed by 2 years on the main Ellensburg campus).  Subsequently, a third phase consists of adjusting the curriculum so that I2ES can offer a 3+1 degree program.  That is, students will be able to finish a compressed bachelor degree program in three years (including the apprenticeship) with the option to complete a Masters in Science (online) in one year following successful completion of the undergraduate degree.

By establishing the Institute we

• Raise the profile of CWU as a national leader and global partner for learning and research in the energy sector

• Provide different educational paths to address the particular needs of different types of students (i.e. career professionals, community college graduates in a 2+2 path, traditional students pursuing a 4-year degree, and students who want to pursue graduate studies in a 3+1 path).

• Transform interdisciplinary studies at CWU through intentional and sustainable partnerships amongst colleges, programs and departments with shared student body and shared financial streams.

• Meet the work supply and insightful informational needs of business and government through student apprenticeships, and preparing high performing students for the workplace, as well as expert faculty-led contracting and consulting.

Thank you for visiting our website! We look forward to seeing you here in Ellensburg, or hearing from you in the near future.

Regards,

Elvin Delgado, PhD
P. 509.963.2184  |  E. delgadoe@cwu.edu

 

 

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