A guest blog from Chelsea Harder, Hawaii Energy
What state has the most expensive electricity rates in the nation? You might have guessed it, Hawaii.
Hawaii is very unique in that it draws 79% of its electricity from oil…yikes! Collectively, the U.S. generates 2% of its electricity from oil (See Figures 1 and 2 below).
Figure 1: U.S. Electricity Generation
Figure 2: Hawaii Electricity Generation
As a result of this sourcing, Hawaii has the most expensive electricity rates in the nation. But the upside is that Hawaii has every renewable energy resource at its disposal. The state recognizes that the dependency on oil an unsustainable practice and is working to grow the use of renewable resources and reduce its energy consumption and increase efficiency. In fact, the state is so committed that our former Governor and the Department of Energy signed a memorandum called the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative in 2009 to meet 70% of Hawaii’s energy demand through conservation and clean energy sources by 2030 – 40% from renewable energy and 30% from energy efficiency. This will take time and a great amount of effort to make this systemic change. As part of this effort, Hawaii Energy is partnering with NEED to reach our future – our younger generations. This offering will educate teachers and provide them with curriculum and course materials to teach Energy literacy to their students!
Given that our mission is to educate on energy efficiency and conservation practices not only to adults but to our younger generations who will soon be leading this effort, NEED visits the Hawaiian Islands multiple times per year to aid teachers in this effort to reach their students. Within the months of November and February, The NEED Project held 5 workshops on the island of Oahu and educated 137 local teachers from the islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu…and they’re still counting! The NEED Project will return to Hawaii for two more workshops in April 2013 on Hawaii Island and Oahu.
The workshops are informative, interactive, and provide tools to expand your curriculum with Energy Education – not to mention fun! The session is attended by Hawaii Energy representatives to educate teachers on the importance of energy efficiency and conservation as well as the current use of energy in the state and the positive changes we can make to better the current practices. Throughout the day, teachers are prompted to think critically and are given a plethora of information regarding energy use and processes across the country as well as state-specific information. Educators form small groups to learn about the different types of energy, its use, and how to be more energy efficient. In addition, there is a session for all participants run experiments with the energy kits that will be provided to them for their classroom activities with guidance from the NEED workshop facilitator and the opportunity to ask questions…all in one day!
The value in the partnerships of The NEED Project and Hawaii Energy is shown through the efforts and teachings of the educators to their students and the students’ interpretation of the energy application. Hawaii Energy and NEED are pleased to continue these efforts by also offering grants for Hawaii teachers and schools interested in promoting and teaching conservation and efficiency in their classroom or community. Applications are due April 15, apply today! Creating awareness in energy efficiency and conservation at a young age has a great potential to positively impact our use of energy and to help Hawaii reach the goal of 70% clean energy by 2030 and to greatly reduce the state’s dependency on oil. The intention is to make Hawaii a leader in smart energy use to create a platform for positive and systemic change! For more information about Hawaii Energy and NEED, visit http://hawaiienergy.need.org/.
A guest blog written by Caryn Turrel, NEED Program Associate
Michigan Energy Workshop, Traverse City, Michigan February 5, 2013
What’s the first state that comes to mind when talking about the oil and natural gas industry? Did you say Michigan? Even though we usually associate Michigan with automobiles and the Great Lakes, Michigan has been a key state in the oil and gas industry for almost 90 years. Natural gas runs through pipelines that extend across the Straits of Mackinac and through Lower Michigan. Michigan ranks tenth among the 50 states in natural gas production and seventeenth in oil production. Michigan also contains key formations deep underground that are ideal for storing natural gas for times of peak use.
Earlier this month, sixteen teachers gathered to learn more about oil, natural gas, and energy in Traverse City, Michigan, at a one-day workshop sponsored by Chevron and the Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Foundation. The day started with an introduction to oil and gas with Oil and Gas Energy Bingo, followed by the Science of Energy rotation. Teachers learned all about energy transformations and the sources from which we get our energy.
During lunch, Randy Parsons, a member of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA), described the history and importance of the oil and gas industry in Michigan, finishing with a discussion of environmental considerations and improvements that have been implemented over the last several decades. Through this informative presentation, teachers in attendance learned how oil and gas companies have decreased the amount of land required to reach deposits underground and about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is used to fund public use projects like parks and wetland boardwalks.
The afternoon was filled with hands-on activities from Fossil Fuels to Products and Monitoring and Mentoring. Teachers learned about the many ways petroleum and gas are used in manufacturing, and learned more about the physical properties used to locate and extract oil and gas from deep underground. The day concluded with an exploration and discussion about energy efficiency and conservation with teachers using equipment to measure temperature, humidity, and light levels.
The value in partnerships like this between NEED, Chevron, and the Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Foundation lies in the potential to educate students about the importance of energy, and in this case energy from oil and gas. In so doing, we all can create the energy conscious and educated society we strive to promote.
A guest blog written by DaNel Hogan, Einstein Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy
What is energy? What are the forms and sources of energy? What are some examples of energy transforming from one form into another? How does carbon move through the hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere during the carbon cycle? What are some of the properties of carbon dioxide? How does particle size affect porosity? How does enhanced oil recovery make use of carbon dioxide?
The first in a series of teacher professional development workshops presented by the NEED (National Energy Education Development) Project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and the United States Energy Association not only allowed teachers to learn the answers to these questions but to experience them. Teachers felt thermal energy as it was released from an exothermic chemical reaction, delighted at the “live” wire made of nitinol that sprung back to its original shape when placed in hot water, adjusted variables to affect the voltage output of an apple being used to produce electricity like a battery, experimented with the light output when glow sticks are placed in hot and cold water and much more.
After the teachers established a foundation in the science of energy, they became carbon and simulated the carbon cycle by physically moving around the room from carbon reservoirs within the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. After numerous rounds of the Carbon Cycle Simulation, teachers were able to make connections about how some carbon moves back and forth between two reservoirs, how some reservoirs are always losing carbon and others seem to always be gaining carbon. Ocean acidification was made obvious by the carbon in the atmosphere winding up in the ocean reservoir of the hydrosphere and prompted some great discussion.
Hands-on activities continued with the exploration of Properties of CO2 using dry ice as a source to learn about solid carbon dioxide, sublimation, and the density of carbon dioxide gas. Carbon dioxide was also used to extinguish a candle and to fill up a balloon placed over the mouth of a water bottle. These experiments will allow teachers to explain why CO2 is used in fire extinguishers and demonstrate how gas takes up more space than the solid form of carbon dioxide.
Danielle Petrucci, from the U.S. Department of Energy, presented on the science and technologies currently being used, researched and developed for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). Providing the background needed for teachers to answer students’ questions, this presentation prompted a wide variety of discussion to clarify and expand their understanding of CCUS. Followed with two final experiments Exploring Porosity and Enhanced Oil Recovery, teachers were able to see how porosity determines if a material is a good candidate for carbon dioxide storage and how carbon dioxide can be used to retrieve additional oil from a reservoir.
This Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage workshop series equips teachers with the background knowledge to confidently teach about the science of energy and about carbon capture, utilization and storage using dynamic, hands-on activities and simulations. As a result, students across the country will be experiencing for themselves why carbon capture is important, how carbon dioxide can be utilized and ways it can potentially be stored. Sign up for one near you!
Find upcoming workshops close to you on our Calendar.
Don’t forget to check out the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage curriculum guides, too!
A guest blog written by Caryn Turrel, NEED Program Associate
In mid-July, 31 teachers attended a 2-day workshop focusing on solar science and energy. Teachers were given ideas, lesson plans, and in partnership with NEED, each teacher received a Science of Energy or grade-level solar energy kit for his or her classroom. I was privileged to be able to represent NEED and present lessons in energy transformations and solar energy to the teachers. Josh Rubin, teacher from Palo Alto, California, and NEED facilitator, joined me and described what he does at his school, giving the teachers some ideas for grant proposals.
The workshop began with an overview. There was a lot to be covered! Ruth Paglierani, Coordinator of Public Programs at the Center for Science Education, Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley, laid out the goals for the two days.
From there, Dr. Bryan Mendez, Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, took teachers through some basic lessons in magnetism and magnetic fields. Josh and I took teachers through the six stations of Science of Energy, where they learned about energy transformations.
Teachers also learned about the electromagnetic spectrum and what actually causes the seasons from Kyle Fricke, Coordinator of Public Programs at the Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. Many student – and even adult! – misconceptions about the reason for the seasons exist, and Kyle showed the teachers, using simple materials, how to eliminate those misconceptions. His demonstration was derived from The Real Reasons for Seasons: Sun-Earth Connections and each teacher in attendance received a copy of this resource.
The second day involved learning about photovoltaics, circuits, and how they work, and included a short discussion of new research areas. You can learn about cutting-edge solar energy research by visiting the website of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (www.nrel.gov).
Finally, teachers broke into grade-level sessions which led teachers through activities to learn more about the sun and its energy. Elementary teachers went through Eye on the Sky activities with Ruth Paglierani, and middle and high school teachers went through Living with a Star with Kyle Fricke.
If you’re a California teacher, and this workshop sounds like something you would really enjoy, navigate to http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/energy/index.html and read about the last two years’ workshops. This is also the place to watch for information for future opportunities and find links to most of the resources.
It was an exciting two days full of information, ideas, resources, and opportunities to make new friends. I look forward to continuing to work with the Solar Sciences Laboratory and the Center for Science Education team.
A guest blog written by DaNel Hogan, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Constellation Energy hosted Energy Education Day at Sunset Elementary in Pasadena, MD on March 23rd! All of the 4th and 5th grade students participated in activities using the energy bike which allows them to pedal the bike to generate electricity to power light bulbs. DaNel Hogan, an Einstein Educator Fellow at the Department of Energy and a NEED Facilitator, let the students experience the difference by pedaling the energy bike to power incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. Students also calculated how much horsepower it takes to power three incandescent bulbs at once and the cost of lighting a house with the different types of bulbs for a year. The students learned about the pros and cons of each type of bulb. They also learned how to dispose of compact fluorescent bulbs properly by taking them to a hardware store that accepts them or to their local household hazardous waste facility so the mercury vapor inside of them is contained and not released into the environment. A great day learning about energy efficiency, different types of light bulbs and pedaling for power!