Before the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, the Bill Lane Center and the Precourt Institute for Energy sponsored a Sophomore College course exploring the practical, social, technical, and political issues surrounding energy production and use in Hawaii. Hawaii is at the forefront of technical changes in the electric grid and the uses of electricity, with an aspirational goal for 100% carbon-free electricity in 2045.
Students spent the first week on campus learning about energy and Hawaii, then traveled to various field sites in Hawaii, including a wind farm, a utility-scale solar farm, an oil-fired power plant, a waste-to-energy facility, solar hot water systems, and neighborhoods with large proportions of rooftop solar and behind-the-meter battery storage. The class met with relevant policy experts, including Governor David Ige, and public officials from governmental agencies, universities, and public interest groups. At the end of their Sophomore College experience, the students made a video to capture some of what they had learned.