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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Energy & Climate (online) (PGGE11216)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores energy from the perspective of carbon emissions and their mitigation. We face an energy trilemma whereby we have to reconcile the security and reliability of the provision of energy, its cost and affordability and the environmental and social sustainability of generating electricity, fuels and heat. Trade-offs will have to be made between security, cost and sustainability, but what trade-offs are appropriate, desirable or at least acceptable? We examine energy supply and demand from technical, economic, social and political perspectives. From the supply perspective, we investigate the main traditional forms of electricity and heat generation, including traditional fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) unconventional fossil sources (shale gas and oil, tar sands), renewable energy sources (wind, solar PV, marine, biomass & biofuels, hydroelectric) and nuclear energy. Connecting supply and demand we explore the role of energy markets and infrastructure and how the electricity network is structured, managed and funded in order to ensure a high degree of system reliability. Through the prism of energy economics, we investigate how energy supply is costed, financed and paid-for and how market-based instruments have transformed the practice of electricity system organisation. We analyse how environmental and social costs have been included within the economics of energy provision and how this has and might in future change. Energy security in an increasingly interconnected world is evaluated. The phenomenon of energy poverty has social and political repercussions for energy policy and political reactions to carbon mitigation and is also covered. How publics think about and respond to energy-related topics is important in understanding deployment of energy generation options, responsiveness to demand-side management and political and policy responses to the energy trilemma and these issues will also be addressed during the course.
Course description This course examines various energy related issues from a scientific, economic, social and political point of view. This course will investigate the benefits and downfalls of various energy sources including traditional fossil fuels, unconventional fossil sources, renewable energy, biomass, biofuel and nuclear energy. It will also cover the topics of energy security, social perceptions, energy policy and energy as a geopolitical tool.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 5 (sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assignment 1: two blogs posts and blog feedback (on 4) 30% and 10%
Formative Quiz 1
Assignment 2: 3000-word final report opportunities and challenges to make significant difference towards sustainable energy in the country of your choice 60%
Formative Quiz 2

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No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a high level understanding of the technical, economic benefits and challenges of the main energy sources
  2. demonstrate a sound understanding of the social, political and security challenges of various energy sources
  3. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of key international energy policies and a basic understanding of key regional energy policies
  4. demonstrate a solid understanding of the economic, social and policy dimensions of energy demand
Reading List
Required Text(s)
You are required to read:
Ekins, P., Bradshaw, M. & Watson, J. (2015), Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Part One, Chapters 1 to 8, pages 1-159.
Detailed required reading for individual lectures can be found on the Course Website.
As well as reading the required texts, the following preparation is recommended:
Ensure you can sign on to Learn
Ensure you can sign on to the Course Website
Ensure you have set up your student email
Ensure you set up your Blog
Please review the minimum hardware and operating systems requirements
Ensure you have installed the right software to run Blackboard Collaborate on your computer
Details on how to do these steps can be found in the Technologies Handbook which is accessed via the Programme Handbook
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course deepens and develops the analytical skills and skills of synthesis and critical writing.
KeywordsEnergy Policy,Renewable Energy,Nuclear Power,Fossil Fuels,Biofuel,Energy Security,NYMBY
Course organiserDr Simon Shackley
Tel: (0131 6)50 7862
Course secretaryMrs Karolina Galera
Tel: (0131 6)50 2572
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