Frontiers in Energy, Science and Technology (FEST)

To supplement its rigorous academic curriculum, the Energy, Resources and Environment Program also developed the Frontiers in Energy, Science and Technology (FEST) Field Visits initiative to provide its students with first-hand experience visiting utility, nuclear power and LNG plants, hydraulic fracturing and off-shore oil facilities, sewage treatment plants, and solar panel manufacturing facilities, among others. FEST offers student enrichment activities designed to provide first-hand exposure to innovations in the energy and environment sectors.


2016 – 2017 Program Activities

NRG’s Morgantown Coal Generating Station | March 29, 2017 
Students toured NRG’s facilities and discussed factors relevant to plant operations including the impact of new EPA regulations with facility staff. NRG is a Fortune 500 company that provides nationwide energy services including the operation and maintenance of energy facilities. Students learned about NRG’s range of power generating facilities that boast a capacity of 53,000 megawatts and also provide retail electricity services through Reliant and Energy Plus. The Morgantown Generating Station is a coal generating station on the Potomac River with a generating capacity of 1,453 megawatts. The plant has invested in state of the art pollution control technologies to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury.
Study Trip to Curitiba, Brazil | March 15-20, 2017 
Students met with central and state government officials, private companies, research institutions, NGOs, and/or community organizations during a week-long research trip to study the different facets of Curitiba’s unique approach to urban sustainability that has caused it to draw global interest from both developed and developing countries; the city has received numerous awards for its environmental practices, the most recent being named the second recipient of the Globe Sustainable City Award in 2010. Following the trip, the students worked on recommendations for how the approach taken in Curitiba can be emulated in other cities both in Brazil and in other countries.
Study Trip to Myanmar | January 15-20, 2017
Students met with central and state government officials, private companies, research institutions, NGOs, and/or community organizations during a week-long research trip to study the scope of the problem faced by Myanmar as they look to launch their National Electrification Plan that aims to provide universal access by 2030.  Following the study trip, the students developed policy recommendations to the Aung San Suu Kyi led government outlining several features learnt from Sri Lanka's rural electrification program that may be incorporated into its electrification program to expedite rural electrification.
Audubon Society Wildlife Survey | November 16, 2016 
Students visited Meadowood Recreation Area in Lorton, Virginia, to participate in a wildlife survey with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. During their visit, students learned the importance and necessity of these surveys for the conservation of land that supports the health of wildlife populations in the area. Now completing their 27th year, the project has documented the population trends of 1773 different species among birds, butterflies, dragonflies/damselflies, plants, and other assorted wildlife species.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) |October 24, 2016 
Students visited FERC’s MMC, an energy market information resource center that provides staff with access to several powerful, commercially available information services that provide a broad range of real time data pertaining to the electric and natural gas markets. During the visit, staff from the Division of Energy Market Oversight provided students with an overview of FERC and discussed the Office of Enforcement’s structure and operations.