GEOG 469
Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Lesson Assignment


Discussion Activity

For this week, I want to you answer one of the questions listed below and comment on another student's post. This discussion will take place in a special discussion forum created for this purpose.


Because we will be using an online discussion forum that is asynchronous for this activity, you will need to begin work right away! Be sure to log into your group's discussion forum multiple times over the course of each day this week so that you can keep the discussion going.


  1. Post your response to at least two of these questions in the discussion forum
    • What do you think are the are the major congestion issues Mr. Mansoor of EPRI is referring to, and do you see the utility industry solving these? Do you believe these congestion issues will require a standardized, nation-wide transmission siting criteria? Explain your answer.
    • Many utilities are now looking at installing rooftop solar collection systems on commercial buildings to generate electricity for the commercial entity and store the remainder for the grid. If we can take this one step further – economical, easy-to-install rooftop solar systems for residential use – what do you think the utility industry's response will be? Will they embrace it? Will they attempt to offer the service to homeowners? Explain your answers.
    • "Eisenhower was a master of military art," McNichol says. "He understood from his readings and history that the best road systems were built by the central government," including the roads built by Rome, Napoleon, and Hitler. Each state transportation department managed its own highway-building program, but the central plan was put forth and managed by the federal government. In today's culture of NIMBY ("Not in My Back Yard"), and congressional gridlock, how do you see the final act of a national grid authority being played out? Should it be a central top-down program managed by the government? Or, should it be managed by the private sector, with minimal government oversight?
    • The electric grid may be more important for the country's national security than the federal highway system is. If you accept this premise, then how should the grid be financed? Should it be funded by the federal government, just like the national highway system, or should it be a public-private venture or solely privately funded?
    • Currently, wind and solar generation have a greater cost per kilowatt hour than other sources of energy, such as coal, hydro, nuclear, and natural gas. Do you see the cost of wind and solar dropping to compete with the other sources of energy? If so, why do you believe that will happen? If not, do you believe we will see a "green energy bubble"? What do you see as the major impediments to the mass use of solar and wind energy in the United Sates?
  2. Read the postings made by the other GEOG 469 students.
  3. Respond to at least one other posting by asking for clarification, asking a follow-up question, expanding on what has already been said, etc. Make sure your posting is meaningful! I do not want to see "I agree" type postings! Your responses should add value to the discussion.
  4. Return to the discussion forum daily to read new postings, answer questions directed specifically to you, and to respond to any other postings of interest with your own questions or thoughts!

Grading Criteria

All students are expected to participate in the questions in their group discussions in a concise, well-organized, and scholarly manner. Saying, “I agree with Jennifer” is not adequate. You need to say why you agree (or disagree) and support your comments. Comments should be based on information obtained from appropriate reference sources, including lesson materials, previous coursework, Web-based information, or personal experience. You must use proper grammar and spelling for all contributions.

Your contributions to this assignment will be graded on a 15-point scale. Look at the discussion rubric for more details about my expectations.