Portland State University has announced a new certification program focusing on the economics of energy policy in response to the needs of industry and the local community. Patricia Koss, Program Director of Applied Energy Economics and Policy, will lead a new certification program that PSU expects will prepare up to 20 students per year to enter the energy industry.
The Portland Metropolitan area is home to three energy giants: Bonneville Power, Portland General Electric and Pacific Corp. PSU has taken a significant step to fulfill the mission statement “Let Knowledge Serve the City” by offering a certification taught primarily by energy industry professionals.
“The certification will focus on teaching students analytical tools, general understanding of the industry, how electricity is produced and deregulation”, Koss said. The four classes can be completed in just one year.
To date, no university offers a graduate certificate focusing on the economics of energy. “We hope the program will build up into a master’s degree,” Koss said. The Pacific Northwest provides ample opportunity not only for graduates to work at one of the big three electric companies but the region is also rich with energy consultants and environmental conservation firms.
The creation of the certification has no relation to the recent energy shortage and controversy that has occurred in the western United States. Koss describes the energy industry as a fluctuating but overall healthy job market. The Pacific Northwest is less reliant on oil and more dependent on Hydropower, a trend that may sweep through the rest of the country.
The program will address the issue of deregulation, a hot topic in the Northwest right now. “There are smarter ways to deregulate,” Koss said. She said she believes that Oregon will decide on a better policy than California has. Bonneville Power, Portland General Electric and Pacific Corp. have not announced any lay offs like other Oregon companies.
Koss encourages students who may be interested to visit their Web site at www.aee.pdx.edu. Any student with a bachelor’s degree may take the classes for certification. The certification may also be taken in conjunction with requirements for a master’s degree in economics at PSU.