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Field Trips

"Love the field trips, they really give depth to the class and provide us with real, tangible insight!."
- Student, 2019

"This is the single best course I've taken at Stanford so far. The content is engaging and you actually learn and retain a lot more than you expect. Plus you get to go on really dope field trips."
- Student, 2019

Wind Farm            San Ardo Oil Field

NextEra Field Trip to Wind Farm                      San Ardo Field Trip to Oil Field


Students enrolled in Understand Energy attend three field trips - one local field trip during normal class time and two off-campus field trips (chosen by the student out of ~8 off-campus field trips). Students in Understand Energy: Essentials attend one local field trip and one off-campus field trip. Many past students (which now include several university professors) have cited these off-campus field trips as a particuarly powerful part of the course, and even their overall Stanford education. Off-campus trips are generally scheduled on Thursdays and weekends.

On the local field trip, students will explore a campus energy-related facility, including the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI), Stanford’s Parking and Transportation Services (P&TS), the Y2E2 LEED Platinum building, and others.

Off-campus field trips will meet at the Tresidder Parking Lot (unless otherwise noted). Below is a list of the possible locations that may be visited. Specific information about scheduled field trip dates and times will be issued in class.

Past field trip locations:

  • Tesla Gigafactory
  • San Ardo Oil Field
  • NEXTracker
  • Moss Landing Power Plant
  • The Geysers Geothermal Power Plant
  • Rancho Seco (Decommissioned Nuclear Power Plant and PV)
  • CAISO: California Independent System Operator
  • NextEra Wind Farm
  • Black Diamond Mines (coal mines)
  • Half Moon Bay Landfill (Ox Mountain) Power Plant
  • Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
  • PG&E Pacific Energy Center; Moscone Center Solar Electric System
  • Lodi Energy Center (Flexible Combined Cycle Power Plant)
  • Shasta Dam & Power Plant