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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Energy Policy and Politics (PGSP11427)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryIntroduction to Energy Policy and Politics provides an overview of contemporary societal and policy debates around key energy technologies which are shaping the low carbon energy future. It covers a range of primary energy forms, conversion systems, end use, infrastructure networks, and how they are embedded in wider social and political systems. It deploys and critically reflects on a variety of perspectives from social science disciplines, in particular the interdisciplinary field of science, technology and innovation studies.
Course description Introduction to Energy Policy and Politics provides an overview of contemporary societal and policy debates around key energy technologies which are shaping the low carbon energy future. The lectures will centre on a range of technologies, including renewables, fossil fuels, nuclear and end-use technologies, which in different ways are part of the politics of low carbon transitions. The course will introduce the students to the need for an interdisciplinary whole systems approach to energy analysis which is developed in the more advanced semester 2 Energy Policy and Politics 20 credit course.

Students will be introduced to relevant concepts and frameworks from the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) field, such as the Social Construction of Technical Systems and Innovation Systems, in order to interrogate these different cases. Students will be encouraged to look beyond deterministic accounts of technical change, and to have an understanding of the range of societal actors and interests shaping energy technologies.

Outline Content

Week 1 20 Sept Course introduction: Key course themes and overview of the UK's current energy value chain and key aspects of the institutional framework

Week 2 27 Sept Generation: Investment uncertainty and market redesign for low carbon investment

Week 3 4 Oct Networks: Distribution & transmission regulation

Week 4 11 Oct Retail markets and smart energy

Week 5 18 Oct New energy business models. Course conclusion.

The two hours of each class will be a mixture of lectures, exercises, open discussions of readings, and other activities. Each class will include a short discussion on a current energy issue selected from suggestions supplied by the students. Students will be encouraged to come to class with current news stories and ideas for issues you would like to discuss.
Students are expected to participate fully in discussions and other class activities. This requires thorough and conscientious preparation:

* being familiar with and having thought carefully about relevant readings for that week
* coming to class with notes and queries or annotated copies of material
* contributing fully to the group assignment
* reviewing recent news stories on subjects relevant to the course
* undertaking any other preparation or exercises the course convenor, lecturer or tutor may have given you.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an understanding of key policy and societal debates shaping a range of technologies relevant to the low carbon and sustainable energy systems
  2. Can critically evaluate contributions to debates on energy technology issues, and decisions on them
  3. Have an understanding of relevant concepts from Science, Technology and Innovation Studies and their application to energy technology policy debates
  4. Have developed their skills in finding and using arguments and information; in critically evaluating such material; and in essay writing.
Reading List
BICKERSTAFF, K., LORENZONI, I., PIDGEON, N. F., POORTINGA, W. & SIMMONS, P. 2008. Reframing nuclear power in the UK energy debate: nuclear power, climate change mitigation and radioactive waste. Public Understanding of Science, 17, 145-169.

BRADSHAW, M., BRIDGE, G., BOUZAROVSKI, S., WATSON, J. & DUTTON, J. 2014. The UK¿s Global Gas Challenge. UK Energy Research Centre.

MCDOWALL, W., EKINS, P., RADO¿EVI¿, S. & ZHANG, L.-Y. 2013. The development of wind power in China, Europe and the USA: how have policies and innovation system activities co-evolved? Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 25, 163-185.

SMITH, A., KERN, F., RAVEN, R. & VERHEES, B. 2014. Spaces for sustainable innovation: Solar photovoltaic electricity in the UK. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 81.

STRENGERS, Y. 2013. Imagining the Smart Utopia. Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday life: Smart Utopia? : Palgrave Macmillan.

WINSKEL, M. & RADCLIFFE, J. 2014. The rise of accelerated energy innovation and its implications for sustainable innovation studies: a UK perspective. Science and Technology Studies, 27, 8-33.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ronan Bolton
Tel: (0131 6)50 6394
Course secretaryMr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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