Winter Graduate Course

Registration for this course is CLOSED, please contact Adena Ohanesian at for more information.

Energy in the 21st Century

Transitions, Disruptions, and A Move to Electrify

Since 2013, South Carolina’s electric cooperatives have sponsored a STEM-focused accredited graduate-level course—free of charge to the state’s K-12 STEAM) teachers.  Due to the summer course’s success and the positive feedback we have received from participants, the cooperatives have developed a second graduate course offered to teachers this winter.

Through approximately eight weeks of both in-person (2 Saturdays) and virtual sessions (synchronous and asynchronous), participants will learn about the history, economics, science, and modernization of our global economy and how it relates to the rapidly shifting energy sector.  By looking at 21st-century electrification, the course will leverage the expertise of guest lecturers from the areas of business and industry, public policy, and environmental impact. It will include a range of modalities and course activities to help explain current and future energy markets. Students will also learn about the methods in which our energy supply and economy may change to adapt to the future energy landscape.

  • Things to know
    • Participants who successfully complete the course receive 3 graduate credit hours from the University of South Carolina.
    • The course accommodates a maximum of 25 students.
    • If accepted, a $100 registration fee (refundable after completion of the course) is required.
    • Participants will be notified of their acceptance status by email.
    • All forms due to the University of South Carolina must be submitted before accepance.
  • Learning Outcomes

    At the end of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Understand the role of technology transitions on economic activity throughout U.S. history.
    2. Identify major energy technology changes and related energy transitions throughout world history over the past 50+ years.
    3. Examine the current trends and patterns in energy markets, energy investments, technology innovations, and related policy changes.
    4. Analyze the current U.S. and state energy policy landscape and describe the future landscape.
    5. Apply economic and policy tools and decision-making concepts to current and future energy and economic transitions.
  • Class Schedule

    This course will take place both in-person (2 Saturdays in Cayce, SC) synchronously and asynchronously online over  9 weeks in January, February and March 2024. (See detailed calendar below).

    Saturday, January 13th, 2024

    8:30 am- 4:30 pm. – Cayce, SC

    1. Syllabus review
    2. Course overview
    3. Economic history of technology and energy transitions- Industry 20,50, 100 years ago?
    4. Guest speaker- Is decarbonization real?

    Tuesday, January 16th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • Guest lecture on the path to a clean energy future
    • Discussion of key principles; resilience, reliability, sustainability, and market structure

    Asynchronous participation:  Watch The Day After Tomorrow movie and complete discussion board.

    Tuesday, January 23rd

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • What are the energy choices?
    • Will markets get us there?
    • Decision making analysis 101.
    • The imperfection and beauty of markets 101

    Asynchronous participation:  Copper and the dark side of the Energy Transition- Documentary

    Tuesday, January 30th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • Guest lecture on energy markets and the electric grid- the case of Texas.
    • Discussion: What is the Electric Grid?
    • Is the grid ready for these energy transitions?
    • How do we make sure it is ready

    Asynchronous participation:  Podcast review and discussion on the economics of nuclear power. Freakonomics Radio: Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?

    Tuesday, February 6th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • Discussion on technology and policy path dependency, adaptation, and dominant technologies. What technology will win the day?
    • What about technology adoption?
    • Guest lecture on the role of electric vehicles in electrification?

    Asynchronous participation:  Independent reading:

    • MIT – The Future of Solar
    • MIT- The Future of Energy Storage

    Tuesday, February 13th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • What are the real choices? Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Wind, Solar etc.?
    • National and global market and policy forces and the drive to change.
    • Coal as a case on the intersection of national and global market forces, shifting demand across markets, policy pressures and more.

    Asynchronous participation:

    • Team meetings for final presentations and independent research.
    • Meetings with Dr. Dickes and coaches

    Tuesday, February 20th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • Examine the winners and losers of electrification, tradeoffs, and unintended consequences.
    • Why are so many public goods monopolies or oligopolies?
    • What are the costs of benefits of this type of marker for consumers?
    • How does market consolidation fit within the current energy transition.

    Saturday, February 24th

    8:30 am- 3:00 pm, Cayce, SC

    • Guest Panel on Electrification
    • Team Presentations and discussions
    • Can collaborative governance help us get there?

    Tuesday, February 27th

    Synchronous Zoom session, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    • Guest Speaker on Wind Energy in the SE.
    • The changing footprint of renewables.

    March 3-9th

    • Asynchronous participation and individual consultation with Dr. Dickes

    All final assignments due
    Saturday, March 9th

  • What to expect

    After you complete the online registration form, an EnLightenSC representative will contact you within 2-4 weeks regarding your acceptance to participate in the course.

    If accepted, approximately 30 days prior to the start of the course, you will receive step-by-step instructions from the University of South Carolina to complete your enrollment.  To assist you in the registration process, please review the following links to begin collecting necessary documentation.

    Important note:  You will not take any action on these items until you have been accepted as a student through the University of South Carolina.

    Accessing Self-Service Carolina

    Self-Service Carolina is the university’s secure website where you will log in to manage your academic, financial and personal information.

    Citizenship & Residency

    The state of South Carolina requires students attending a public university in the state to provide proof of citizenship or lawful immigration certification.

    Health Requirements

    You’ll need to provide proof of immunizations and will be required to have health insurance, either through the university or another approved provider.