date_range Débute le 8 juin 2016
event_note Se termine le 2 août 2016
list 10 séquences
assignment Niveau : Introductif
chat_bubble_outline Langue : Anglais
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Les infos clés

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En résumé

Humanity faces an immense challenge: providing abundant energy to everyone without wrecking the planet. If we want a high-energy future while protecting the natural world for our children, we must consider the environmental consequences of energy production and use. But money matters too: energy solutions that ignore economic costs are not realistic—particularly in a world where billions of people currently can’t afford access to basic energy services. How can we proceed?

Energy Within Environmental Constraints won’t give you the answer. Instead, we will teach you how to ask the right questions and estimate the consequences of different choices.

This course is intended for a diverse audience. Whether you are a student, an activist, a policymaker, a business owner, or a concerned citizen, this course will help you start to think carefully about our current energy system and how we can improve its environmental performance.

This course:

  • Covers engineering, environmental science, and economics to enable critical, quantitative thinking about our energy system
  • Focuses on a working understanding of energy technologies, rich in details of real devices and light on theory; you won’t find any electrodynamics here but will find enough about modern commercial solar panels to estimate if they would be profitable to install in a given location
  • Covers environmental impacts of the energy system, focusing on air pollution, climate change, and land use
  • Emphasizes costs: the cascade of capital and operating costs from energy extraction all the way through end uses
  • Emphasizes quantitative comparisons and tradeoffs: how much more expensive is electricity from solar panels than from coal plants, and how much pollution does it prevent?  Is solar power as cost-effective an environmental investment as nuclear power or energy efficiency?  And how do we include considerations other than cost?

Please note that this is an abridged course, equivalent to roughly half of a full semester-long undergraduate course.  See the syllabus for topics that we include and a list of some we exclude.


Photo credits:

  • Solar Farm CC-BY Michael Mees on flickr
  • Smokestack CC-BY Patrick on flickr

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Le programme

  • How energy flows through modern economies, from initial resources to end users
  • The environmental impacts of today’s energy system, focusing on air pollution, climate, and land use
  • How to estimate economic costs of reducing environmental impacts
  • Details on nuclear and solar power: technology, costs, policy, unique challenges and problems
  • How to critically compare energy options, including quantitative and qualitative analysis

Les intervenants

  • David Keith
  • Daniel Thorpe

Le concepteur

Harvard University

La plateforme

EdX est une plateforme d'apprentissage en ligne (dite FLOT ou MOOC). Elle héberge et met gratuitement à disposition des cours en ligne de niveau universitaire à travers le monde entier. Elle mène également des recherches sur l'apprentissage en ligne et la façon dont les utilisateurs utilisent celle-ci. Elle est à but non lucratif et la plateforme utilise un logiciel open source.

EdX a été fondée par le Massachusetts Institute of Technology et par l'université Harvard en mai 2012. En 2014, environ 50 écoles, associations et organisations internationales offrent ou projettent d'offrir des cours sur EdX. En juillet 2014, elle avait plus de 2,5 millions d'utilisateurs suivant plus de 200 cours en ligne.

Les deux universités américaines qui financent la plateforme ont investi 60 millions USD dans son développement. La plateforme France Université Numérique utilise la technologie openedX, supportée par Google.

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