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UMPI President focuses on energy issues with major publication, international workshop in the Netherlands

With energy issues becoming an ever increasing focus at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, President Don Zillman recently traveled overseas to work on an energy related project with scholars and legal experts from around the world. President Zillman was in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to discuss energy issues and to work with colleagues from as far away as China and Africa on his latest book, which will be published by one of the most prestigious academic presses in the world.

President Zillman and his co-editors are under contract with Oxford University Press for the forthcoming book Understanding the Legal Aspects of Energy Networks. The book has 25 authors and four editors, including President Zillman, Lila Barerra Hernandez (Argentina), Inigo del Guayo (Spain), and Martha Roggenkamp (Netherlands).

The energy networks discussed in the book include oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission and distribution lines, and other systems that move energy raw materials – such as motor gasoline, natural gas for heating, and electricity for computers – to final use.

“The legal issues in the book compose a fascinating collection of matters that address such varied topics as environmental protection, project financing, international jurisdiction, and business regulation,” President Zillman said. “My colleagues from China, Russia, Nigeria, much of the EU, and South America serve as a wonderful source of information of what’s happening around the world right now, from a legal perspective, with energy networks.”

President Zillman began his international trip by traveling to the United Kingdom for a brief meeting with Oxford University Press officials to discuss the details of the book and its progress to date. He then traveled to Groningen in the northern Netherlands to attend an international workshop at the 400-year-old University of Groningen.

The Groningen Centre of Energy Law hosted a workshop of the Academic Advisory Group of the International Bar Association Section of Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure Law. The workshop focused on draft chapters to be included in Understanding the Legal Aspects of Energy Networks. The event involved the presentation of individual papers, strong critiques on them, and group sessions on the shape of the final book. The book’s editors also spent time crafting the introduction and conclusion.

“We had excellent discussions around energy law during our time in Groningen,” President Zillman said. “The wide range of issues that different countries are facing in terms of energy transmission and distribution is just fascinating, and all of us appreciated the chance to sit down together, talk them through, and ensure that our book is strong from beginning to end.”

As a result of this international collaboration, the manuscript for the book is nearing completion. Editors hope to deliver the final manuscript to Oxford University Press in August.

The President’s work is one of many efforts currently underway at UMPI, and by UMPI officials, to explore, research and teach about issues related to energy and sustainability. The University now offers several courses – from an introductory class on energy to classes focused on renewable energy resources and climate change – that examine the wide range of energy sources available to us, how they are harnessed, and how they impact the world around us.

With a 600 kW wind turbine located on campus, and with the current installation of both a biomass boiler and solar panels at Pullen Hall, the University is not only at the forefront of renewable energy work within the University of Maine System but also in the very unique position of being able to provide working models of renewable energy systems and hands-on learning opportunities for its students.

The University has joined forces with the University of Maine on an effort to list energy courses offered throughout the University of Maine System in one place. Other collaborative efforts are underway.

To learn more about UMPI’s energy offerings, please contact Dr. Raymond Rice, Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences, at 768-9416.