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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Sep 26, 2020
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SEST 594 - Energy & Security
The class is a survey of the energy systems of some of the most fascinating and important countries and regions on the planet. The countries and regions covered will include, Chile, Venezuela, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Japan, China, India, various parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, the EU, the Arctic, Canada, Australia, the US and the cyber realm. We will cover a lot on energy technologies, energy supply chains, and the economics (in everyday English) and politics of energy in order to look into various issues, such as the potential and actual effects of terrorism, cyber events, organized crime, smuggling, conflict, revolutions and more. One gets a clearer understanding of the potential and actual threats to energy once the energy systems are clearly explained. 

The energy-environment nexus will be discussed throughout the term as it applies to the various regions and countries we will be discussing. The connections between energy and water, energy and economic development, and energy and minerals and other productive activities will also be stressed. Nexus thinking is vital and necessary when considering energy issues. 

Energy is one of the most important ingredients for just about everything that happens in a country or region. Energy systems are also systems within systems connected with systems that are nested in other systems. For example, try to use an ATM or a gas station when there is no electricity. Communications and water systems can break down without energy. Energy is needed for water supplies, but sometimes water supplies are vital for energy production. The loss of energy systems over a long time period could prove to be vital and problematic issues for some. Consider what happened during Super Storm Sandy and the recent events in Houston, Texas. Consider how many become ill or even died in extreme temperature areas of the world when the electricity stopped working. Consider the importance of energy for our overall health and well-being. Also, what would happen to electricity systems if there ever were to be a nuclear confrontation? Hint: when nuclear weapons were tested in the South Pacific energy systems from very far away were effected. EMPs are real. Physical attacks and cyber-attacks on energy systems are real. Extreme weather events can take down energy systems. How does one harden those systems and create greater resilience overall? 

Those who have never had access to modern energy use other forms energy systems, such as biomass (wood, dung, agricultural waste, etc.)  Understanding traditional forms of energy in some societies may be a good way to understand those societies.

We will discuss options to vulnerable energy systems in areas where decentralization and backup systems may be required. Libya is a good example of that. 

The class will describe and analyze important present and emerging energy technologies for oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables (such as wind, solar, power towers, hybrid systems, tidal power, geothermal, and ocean energy). Energy storage will also be discussed. Energy efficiency, which may be the largest source of effective energy in the future, will be an issue that goes through all of the other discussions. Normally, a country wastes at least half of the fuel energy it puts into its overall energy system. Furthermore, that wasted fuel produces effluents, such as CO2, and air and water pollution, without any productive purpose. 

The ideas in the class will be presented in easy-to-understand ways with in a focus toward practical applications of the knowledge gained at the strategic level mostly, but one cannot really have a strategic level without the operational and tactical ones. Anecdotes and stories from real examples will make the class come alive. 

This is a lot of very exciting, important and practical stuff. I hope you will join me in the adventure of learning about energy and security. 

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Juris Doctor
Schedule Types: Seminar

Security Studies Department

Must be enrolled in one of the following Majors:     
      Arab Studies
      Asian Studies
      Eurasian, Russian, E Euro Stud
      Foreign Service
      German and European Studies
      Global Human Development
      Latin American Studies
      Law/Arab Studies
      Law/Foreign Service
      Law/Security Studies
      Security Studies

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