Last semester I took Energy Systems Fundamentals, or ESF for short, with Professor of Professional Practice Travis Bradford*. Professor Bradford is the director of the Energy and Environment concentration at SIPA. He is also a full-time Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University, teaching energy and natural resource markets and innovation at SIPA, Columbia Business School and the Earth Institute.
ESF is a core class for students concentrating in Energy and Environment, but a lot of students out of the concentration also rush to get a spot in that class. The purpose of the course is to establish a core energy skillset for students and prepare them for advanced energy courses by providing a basic language and toolset for understanding energy issues. Using theoretical and practical understanding of the process by which energy technologies are developed, financed and deployed, the course seeks to highlight the root drivers for change in the energy industry, the technologies that are emerging, and the factors that will determine success in their commercialization.
The class was really demanding, with heavy load of readings and challenging problem sets every week. There were also lectures with professionals from diverse areas, such as managers at energy companies, policy makers, etc. Every week Associate Professor Bradford would push us to the limit and make us learn more and more. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitively fun!
Knowing how energy system work is a useful skill in many fields. I highly recommend students take this class since it actually teaches you the fundamentals of the subject.