State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Alum’s New Book Promotes Renewable Energy Literacy

MS in Sustainability Management alum Michael Ginsberg

Harness It, a book by Sustainability Management alum Michael Ginsberg, details how renewable energy sources are integrated into the grid. Its aim is to promote better understanding among students and business professionals in the utility sector and across industries.

Following an overview of the technical and historical development of the electrical grid in the U.S. and Europe, this book reviews hydropower, solar photovoltaic, wind energy, fuel cell, and battery technologies. Next, it presents models for the connection of these renewable energy sources from large-scale to on-site and community power/microgrids.

The book is directed to MBA and engineering students and current business professionals managing a portfolio of energy investments (both clean technology and conventional fuels). Most literature on grid interconnection is highly technical, assuming an in-depth understanding of electrical engineering. With the rise of clean technologies and the diversity of interconnection models, this guide fills a gap in the existing literature by equipping non-technical business managers with the salient information they need to make critical decisions for their organizations.

At a time when energy systems must shift rapidly from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Michael Ginsberg has produced an enormously valuable guide to renewable energy for practitioners, students, and the broad public.
— From the foreword by Jeffrey D. Sachs, a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, and senior UN advisor.

Ginsberg gives us a roadmap to making the electrification of everything sustainable and reliable, confronting what it takes to translate green visions into commercial reality.
— Carlos Pascual, former US ambassador to Mexico and Ukraine, special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the US Department of State, and senior vice president at IHSMarkit.

Michael Ginsberg is an engineering science Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, specializing in solar energy integration into the electrical grid. In his work with the US Department of State, Ginsberg has performed technical analyses of large-scale solar installations on U.S. compounds worldwide, and trained nearly 1,000 engineers and technicians in renewable energy and building systems at U.S. embassies in West Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Europe.

The M.S. in Sustainability Management, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. Visit the website to learn more.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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