Sustainable Energy at CEEP
A transformation of the world’s energy systems is underway, with the current architecture not likely to last more than a few decades into the new century. Existing reliance on fossil and nuclear fuels is giving way to an emerging solar economy and society as renewable energy sources record the fastest growth rates in meeting global energy service needs.
The policy challenge is fundamental: Will we send forward a legacy of energy waste and injustice? Or will we recognize that cheap energy is simply a form of subsidy to the status quo at the expense of future generations, and instead take the necessary actions to build a sustainable and equitable energy regime?
The costs of cheap energy include acid rain, air pollution, adverse water quality impacts, the build-up of long-lived radioactive wastes, enduring energy-based economic inequalities, and widening security threats. These ‘hidden’ costs are becoming unacceptably high, leading many to question the traditional ‘grow and build’ strategies involving fossil and nuclear fuels. Instead, energy conservation, improved energy efficiency, and a shift to renewable energy development increasingly represent the most promising tools for our energy future. A priority of the new sustainable energy paradigm must also be removing the global inequalities associated with current energy arrangements. For both North and South, the ‘soft energy’ path, first synthesized by Amory Lovins in 1977, offers our best hope for a different social and environmental future.
CEEP has been a leader in this policy field for over 20 years, undertaking scholarship, organizing graduate studies and conducting research in the US and around the world, with a particular focus on the political economy of energy-society relationships. Issues addressed by CEEP include: energy for sustainable development, energy and developing countries, environmental and social assessments of energy policies, the role of energy in climate change, the political economy of nuclear power, community-scale energy planning, and the requirements for energy justice. Graduate coursework, research projects and policy initiatives have examined experience in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the US in an effort to build an international understanding of, and agenda for, sustainable energy development.
Graduate Study in Sustainable Energy at CEEP