For this, the 21st year, the San Juan College School of Energy, in collaboration with many local energy partners, is hosting Energy Week.

Group of students listening to George Sharpe speak on Energy.

The building will be electrified with the excitement of regional middle school cohorts as many of the myths and dark holes surrounding the need for all forms of energy are dispelled. For two weeks this May, starting Friday, May 10, students from across San Juan and McKinley counties will come to the School of Energy and learn how solar energy captured by marine life hundreds of millions of years ago was stored in the form of oil and gas and ultimately became the proverbial black gold that fuels our modern world.  They will preview the mysterious web we call the grid, address alternative fuels and touch on fuels and forms of energy that will take us to the future.

Looking at what has and continues to power our world, from deep in the earth comes the source of wicking athletic fabrics to the plastics that make electric cars, the students will learn the story of finding the decaying crustaceans, drilling and completing wells, and the safe operation of surface facilities. The students will also learn how those bugs are refined into the natural gas in their furnaces, the gasoline in the cars they can’t wait to drive, and the lipstick and hair gel that makes them look so cool.  In addition, the students will get a glimpse of the magic behind the plug that charges their cell phones.  

Another segment focuses on alternative and renewable energy and the transition to a low carbon world.  These politically popular and quickly growing energy sources help to supplement the traditional energy supplies that provide Americans reliable and affordable energy that they can count on. Alternatives will certainly play a growing role in our energy future.

We will also have a presentation on the interworking’s of our national power grid and what the future looks like especially in terms of making sure your lights come on, your heater operates and you can charge your car. 

The primary goal of this program is to bring to life the school science curriculum and to show the students how science is being applied in their own backyards.  A secondary goal of Energy Week is to educate the students and their accompanying adults about the most important industries in the region, the state and the nation.  Tens of thousands of people work in high paying jobs in the energy industry, paying taxes, buying groceries, and volunteering in communities.  In addition, the revenues generated from the industry are the lifeblood of the State budget, most of which goes to public education.

Another intended lesson is to show how oil and gas and fossil-based fuels can be developed in harmony with the environment.  The exhibits demonstrate the numerous measures taken by the industry to protect groundwater, wildlife, and human health.  With responsible energy development and environmental stewardship, we can have our energy and still preserve the 4 Corners as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

 For information on Energy Week, contact Dolores Silseth at or (505) 566-4034 or George Sharpe at Merrion Oil & Gas at or 505-402-5798.