The Washington & Jefferson Center for Energy Policy and

White Paper on the Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy
and Management
Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is a four-year liberal arts college situated in
southwestern Pennsylvania. Our mission is to graduate men and women of uncommon integrity,
competence, and maturity who are effective lifelong learners and responsible citizens, and who
are prepared to contribute substantially to the world in which they live. W&J is dedicated to
accomplishing this mission by providing a broad-based liberal arts education with an emphasis
on interdisciplinary learning, writing and speaking skills, critical thinking, and creative problem
W&J increasingly attracts students from around the nation and several foreign countries.
However, more than 44% of our alumni live in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where they provide
health care, practice law, educate young men and women, lead municipalities, and create
businesses to keep the regional economy strong. W&J has been recognized nationally for its
outstanding record in producing leaders in a wide range of fields. The College has been ranked
first in the country (per capita) for producing future attorneys and third for producing future
physicians and medical researchers. Our accountants, education majors, and economics majors
have all enjoyed nearly a 100% placement rate in jobs or graduate/professional schools for the
past few years.
With its roots in two colleges founded in 1781, W&J has been transforming the lives of students
in Southwestern Pennsylvania for more than 230 years. In 1865, Washington College, which sent
its young men to fight for the North, and Jefferson College, which supported the South, united to
form W&J. When the veterans returned from the war, they found themselves classmates with
those they had tried to kill. After some initial sword duels, the young men learned to live
together and debate issues rather than fight over them. Because of their ability to come together
across lines of difference from a position of respect, W&J exists today.
Our campus is still influenced by that historical commitment to uniting individuals with
drastically different views through respectful discourse and debate in pursuit of common
educational goals. In an increasingly polarized world, where so many campuses are dominated
by a single political ideology, W&J continues to be a place where liberals and conservatives, rich
and poor, black and white all debate issues, listen to one another, and respect one another in the
classroom, on the athletic field and in residence halls. From this commitment comes our college
motto: Juncta Juvant, Together We Thrive.
The Center for Energy Policy and Management
Southwestern Pennsylvania now finds itself enmeshed in a contentious public debate concerning
development of the region’s abundant natural energy resources. As the epicenter of the Marcellus
Shale play, the second largest shale oil and gas play in the world, and home to an international
leader in nuclear energy, a major coal producer, and a growing number of solar, wind, and
geothermal companies, the region has emerged as the energy capital of the country. The
collective growth of all of these industries has a strong bearing on our communities, drawing
new labor forces to the area, adding drivers to the roads and students to the schools, as well as
increasing the demands placed on our natural environment. As a result, there are strongly divided
opinions within the region about how these energy resources should be developed and used.
Careful policy development is needed to ensure that these divergent views are reconciled and
emerging energy industries can prosper. Policy-making is the means by which democratic
societies negotiate change, especially when that change is contentious. The Center for Energy
Policy and Management (CEPM or Center) at W&J intends to fulfill this important need by
bringing together individuals from energy industries (fossil fuels, as well as solar, wind,
geothermal, and nuclear), environmental scientists, and key policymakers in a fact-based,
unbiased environment to help craft regional and national policies that will promote energy
growth while preserving the quality of the environment.
Many local colleges and universities have established programs related to the growing Marcellus
Shale industry. Some community colleges are training roustabouts; other schools have set up
research centers; and still others are training energy engineers. However, none are focusing on
policy as the vehicle whereby the needs of industrial growth and environmental impact
mitigation are negotiated, whether the issue is the impact of wind turbines on migratory birds or
the impact of fracking fluids on water quality. Yet both environmental scientists and industry
leaders point to clear, consistent policy as their most important need.
Whereas large universities often establish centers for excellence that draw attention to areas of
particular expertise within the institution, a center for excellence at a small liberal arts college
can have a different function. The CEPM is well situated to act as a convener, bringing together
individuals from a variety of fields and with different kinds of expertise as needed to explore a
given issue. The Center will draw upon W&J’s experts and researchers as well as those from
other colleges and universities in the area and those working for corporations and policy groups.
In this way, the Center’s perspective and interests will not be limited by affiliation with a
particular school or department of a university that might seek to "own" it and so dominate the
Furthermore, policy-making and industry management require the kind of complex, multidisciplinary problem-solving that epitomizes a liberal arts education. W&J's identity as a liberal
arts college and its historic strengths in science, law, and business make it an appropriate host for
a center focused on energy policy and energy management. For more than two centuries, W&J
has been the leading liberal arts college in the region, a place where individuals with divergent
opinions could engage in fact-based, respectful, and hence productive dialogue. The Center for
Energy Policy and Management is an expression of that continuing leadership.
As a convener, the Center for Energy Policy and Management does not advocate a particular
agenda, but, rather acts as a facilitator to bring individuals together to sort through scientific,
economic, and sociological analyses of the energy industry in order to craft the best policies to
secure America's energy future and its environmental health. When specific policy
recommendations emerge from these discussions, the Center will facilitate their promotion and
dissemination by the participants at conferences it will host. With policymakers involved in
these discussions, there will be natural routes to placing policy on legislative agendas as
With its focus on all energy industries--not just fossil fuels--W&J's Center for Energy Policy and
Management is interested in broad policy questions like, "Should we be developing compressed
natural gas-fueled or electric cars or both or neither?" "What role will coal play in the tapestry of
energy sources needed to fuel our country?" as well as specific concerns like "What best
practices exist for protecting the environment at natural gas drilling sites? How should these
practices be promoted and/or enforced?"
In sum, the Center is designed to:
• Provide an opportunity for scientists, industry members, legislators, and citizens to
exchange information about energy policy and energy management in a fact-based,
constructive way,
• Educate the public about policy issues related to traditional and non-traditional energy
• Provide a place outside of the media spotlight where policy issues can be discussed
openly and constructively in order to promote industry growth and energy security, while
minimizing impact on the environment,
• Advance research on policy and management issues related to energy,
• Provide a benchmark to track progress toward energy independence and security, and
• Bring experts in the fields of energy policy and energy management to the region.
Structure and Activities of the Center
The structure of W&J Center for Energy Policy and Management is designed both to connect it
with the region and to allow it to maintain an unbiased position. The Center is operated by a
Director who reports to the president of the College and is guided by an Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board consists of a diverse group of professionals with expertise in energy-related
fields. The Advisory Board meets quarterly and its members are also available for consultation
on a regular basis so as to provide guidance to the CEPM Director concerning the Center's
activities and any issues it encounters. The Board members recommend activities for the Center
to undertake, assist with planning and shaping conferences, help to assess the need for and
structure of post-baccalaureate energy programs, and connect the Center’s director to industry,
non-profits, scientists, and policymakers. The W&J president serves ex officio on the Advisory
The Center for Energy Policy and Management will accomplish its goals and objectives by
supporting several different activities. These include:
Generation and Publication of the W&J Energy Index
The W&J Energy Index draws data from publicly available or objective sources (e.g., the U.S.
Energy Information Administration) to create a benchmark for measuring the energy
independence and energy security of the United States. While the balance of imported and
domestic sources within the different energy sectors is a key factor in the Energy Index, the
Index also considers the diversity of our import partners and the political stability of each
importing country. The Energy Index is sufficiently robust to be meaningful and responsive to
changing socio-political and economic situations, but it also is straight-forward enough to be
well understood by those who rely upon it. While the data comes from outside sources, the
Index's core algorithm is proprietary and owned by W&J. The algorithm has also been used to
analyze the energy independence of the various regions of the U.S. This benchmark will be
issued annually to public media at an Energy Summit in order to assist the media, the public, and
policy makers with tracking the country's progress toward energy independence and security.
Throughout the year, interpretative data from the Energy Index will be released to the public.
Public Conferences, Institutes, and Forums Concerning Energy Policy and Management
The Center for Energy Policy and Management brings people together in conferences, institutes,
and public forums to address the complex issues of energy development and consumption and to
educate the public on energy-related issues. Some of these conferences are organized by the
Center itself and others are simply hosted by the Center. In all cases, every effort is made to
ensure that the discussions at these events are fact-based, respectful, and constructive. When
panel discussions or conferences are created, they include a wide range of points of view in order
to ensure that policy issues are addressed in a balanced and inclusive manner. Most conferences
will produce publications and be open for media coverage.
Focused Discussions
Some important debates can be hindered by media coverage when individuals representing
various constituencies feel pressured to take hard-line, public postures rather than working
toward compromise and mutual understanding. Therefore, the Center also provides opportunities
for experts (scientists, engineers, and policy makers) to hold closed door discussions (as
permitted by the relevant sunshine laws) in order to reach consensus and produce policy
Visiting Experts and Lecturer
The CEPM sponsors visits by nationally and internationally recognized experts who can inform
the community on issues of energy policy and management through public lectures and
workshops. Some visits may be brief (one or two days) and others may extend for a semester or a
Faculty and Student Research
The Center supports W&J faculty and student research related to issues of interest to the Center.
Faculty and students are invited to present proposals on topics ranging from energy regulation to
the rhetoric of the energy debate to successful business models for emerging energy companies.
As the Center matures, it may also be able to support national competition for these research
Certificate Programs and Public Education
The CEPM will survey local businesses and business professionals to assess the need and
preferred structure for a post-baccalaureate program in Energy Management and/or Energy
Policy with courses such as Energy Finance, Energy Economics and Environmental & Energy
Regulation. We anticipate that programs would be designed to be taught to professionals in the
energy business, legal profession, and those seeking entry into these fields. In addition, through
its connections with Science Matters, the Center may develop energy-related curricula for K-12
Once the Center has amassed sufficient information it will produce white papers, conference
proceedings, and other documents relating to energy policy and energy management. These
publications will create a permanent record of the Center's activities and allow us to disseminate
the results of our deliberations more widely.
As the Center develops, new ways to fulfill its mission will undoubtedly be identified,
particularly ones involving collaborative relationships with other centers, colleges/universities,
NGOs, industry groups, and government agencies.
Outcomes and Measures of Success
In broad terms, the Center expects to produce the following outcomes:
• Generation of civil, constructive, and productive conversations on appropriate energy
policies for the state and the country,
• Development of clearer and more consistent state and federal energy policy,
• Availability of balanced information sources for the public, educators, and the media,
• Education on energy regulation and management through post-baccalaureate programs,
• Demonstration of how civic discourse can resolve complex, contentious issues
• Development of simultaneously environment-friendly and business-friendly policies,
• Public awareness and use of the W&J Energy Index as a benchmark for measuring
energy independence and energy security.
In all of the Center's efforts it is important to measure the quality of the information provided,
the sophistication and constructiveness of the dialogue generated, the effectiveness of actions
taken, and the perception of the Center as a place where fact-based, unbiased, and useful
dialogue can occur. Most importantly, measuring our progress must be ongoing, iterative, and
formative. The Center is embarking on a project that has few predecessors or peers. As a result,
we must constantly monitor our progress in order to be nimble in responding to society's needs
for clear policy to promote the growth of energy industries in a coordinated and thoughtful way
that secures America's energy future and mitigates impact on the environment.