Purpose and Scope
Energy presents one of the biggest challenges we face as we seek more sustainable ways to provide society with goods and services. Energy is an essential input to nearly every human activity, but extraction and utilization of energy resources have profound effects on the environment. Society's desire to access energy resources, which are distributed unevenly, raises geopolitical issues and energy security concerns. Billions continue to lack access to modern energy services relying on traditional biofuels, suffering severe adverse health effects. Costs and reliability of energy service provision are important concerns for households and businesses in all economies and are important areas for public policy and regulators. The profligate consumption of fossil fuels changes climate, pollutes ecosystems, and also impacts human health. Traditional and emerging alternative sources of energy pose their own sets of problems: hydroelectric installations alter hydrologic regimes and displace human populations; nuclear power generates hazardous wastes and can raise the risks of proliferation; and biomass-energy production can impact food security and complicate biodiversity conservation.
Addressing these challenges and understanding the ramifications of various energy alternatives requires both a systemic and multidisciplinary perspective, which can be obtained through the MEM Specialization in Energy and the Environment. Students following this specialization will gain exposure to a mix of courses in energy systems, energy industries and technologies, policy analyses, business, economics, finance, the environment, and also can take advantage of an array of interdisciplinary and qualitative social-science courses. The Energy and the Environment Specialization exists to prepare students to help lead in developing a more equitable, efficient, and cleaner energy future. Graduates of the Energy Specialization will be prepared to work in a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, private sector energy firms, energy consultancies and renewable energy start-ups, energy service companies, international financial institutions and development agencies, government agencies, and environmental think-tanks.
: Ken Gillingham