The geopolitical conflicts over energy resources during the last decades have transformed the current energy landscapes at regional, national and international scales. These shifts in energy landscapes have made the management of energy resources more complex, the development of energy policy more important and controversial, and the innovation of energy technology front-page news. Whether it is finding new traditional sources of energy (e.g., oil, coal and natural gas) or developing alternative sources of energy (e.g., wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal) we need to understand that the world is so embedded in conventional sources of energy that policies and decisions regarding alternative sources of energy depend greatly to what happens in the fossil fuel market. Thus, a high performing work force comprised of learned professionals with a deep and integrated understanding about traditional and alternative energy past, present and future will meet the high demand for qualified employees. Recogntion of the emphasis on renewables polarizing the energy spectrum, the needs on the business side of energy-related organizations, and the uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of engineered technologies in the energy sector, Central Washington University (CWU) faculty joined together in research to bridge this gap. In 2014 CWU responded to these needs with the creation of the Institute for Integrated Energy Studies (I2ES).
Energy matters and it matters in new ways, especially in our region.