Spotlight on ethics: Solar panels in a desert oil field

What is your initial reaction to using solar energy for oil and gas production? What might your initial reaction reveal to you about your own perspectives and values? What are the potential benefits and risks to implementing this technology?

These are some of the questions posed in our intermediate level Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study, Solar panels in a desert oil field,  which addresses the ethical issues of respect for the environment, sustainability, honesty, and public good, and examines situations that professional engineers need to consider, such as communication, bribery, and working cultures.

This case requires an engineer with strong convictions about sustainable energy to make a decision about whether or not to take a lucrative contract from the oil industry.

We’ve provided this, and other case studies and case enhancements for you to use and adapt in your teaching. If you’re new to ethics, we have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

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