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Energy and Climate Change (30 credits)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 2000-word energy decarbonisation pathway (50%) and 2500-word essay (50%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to principle aspects of energy systems, their physical underpinnings, and how both link to the wider climate change debate.

We will assess the environmental impacts of sustainable and non-sustainable energy technologies, in particular the rapid development of key renewable energy technologies such as solar and both onshore and offshore wind. This is complemented by an analysis of the potential of other renewable energy technologies such as ocean energy.

Finally, we will explore the relationship between energy production, energy storage and grid management. This includes a review of national and international policies to reduce carbon emissions from energy systems.

Indicative syllabus

  • Physical principles of energy technologies: the wider energy-related carbon cycle
  • Solar, wind, wave/tidal, biomass, geothermal: recent technical developments including floating solar, offshore wind
  • Energy storage and hydrogen economy: recent technical developments including the role of hydropower as a virtual battery
  • National and international policies for promoting renewable energies: recent technical developments including EU green deal and UNFCC-NDC
  • Spatial dynamics of the energy transition
  • Geospatial databases and modelling tools for estimation renewable energy potentials
  • Decarbonising the heat sector
  • Decarbonising the transport sector

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • outline the physical principles of energy consumption and energy harvesting technologies
  • describe the environmental impacts of sustainable and unsustainable technologies, respectively
  • relate the geophysical requirements of various renewable energy technologies in reference to the natural settings of a given country/region
  • describe the importance of energy storage and grid management systems
  • report and assess a number of national and international policies for fostering the dissemination of renewable energy technologies.