Engineering students transforming public policy to promote green power

Peter Mark Jansson, William Riddell, Nathan Vizzi, Krishan Bhatia, Ryan McDevitt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Junior and senior engineering clinic students at Rowan University have been able to directly participate in the influencing of public zoning policy within the State of New Jersey as part of their work on the NJ Anemometer Loan Program1 and the NJ Wind Working Group for Small Wind and Terrestrial Applications2. The project has enabled the students to learn first hand how public policy impacts the expansion of the green power market (specifically wind energy) in specific municipalities. As part of their project-based learning experience in the clinic3 the student team has documented that a wide range of public policy positions, embodied in local zoning ordinances, will directly affect how many customers will pursue wind energy as a potential option for generating their own electric power. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program5 provides some of the most lucrative rebates for renewable energy system installation in the nation and represents an embodiment of the State's policy commitment to become 20% renewable by 20206 This policy driver has resulted in an exponentially growing market for photovoltaic systems, but local zoning policy has limited the expansion of the wind market though many of the rebate levels are comparable (the rebates have been designed to bring simple investment paybacks below 10 years for interested consumers). This clinic experience allows students to participate in the public policy debate and they have presented their results to the NJ Wind Working group which has been set up by the State to propose changes to public policy that could lead to broader adoption and faster market expansion for wind technology. One major purpose of the student clinic project is to provide the State with a full report on the feasibility of installing wind measurement systems and wind turbines based upon the feedback of surveys sent to the zoning officers of over 80 municipalities that lie in the richest wind resource areas of the State. The result of the work has raised the students' awareness about how public policy affects their careers and the engineering projects that they attempt to perform. The interplay between public policy and project-based learning is dramatized by these types of clinic experiences where students attempt to solve the real world's problems in real time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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