Postgraduate

Modules

Modules

SPG8009 : Renewable Energy: Policy, Politics and Ethics

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

The aim of the module is to provide students with an appreciation of the political and ethical context of renewable energy at international, national and local level and for students to be able to critically review Government energy strategies.
The module provides students with the 'sustainability' context for renewable energy (whether in the form of electricity, heat or transport), to critically review Government energy policies and strategies and to form a view on whether these are adequate to achieve the extremely ambitious yet legally-binding 2020 renewable energy and GHG emissions commitments.

Outline Of Syllabus

• Why Renewable Energy?: - Brief history of renewable energy; - UK energy policy to 2003.
• Development of UK Energy Policy: - Review of pre-school assignment; - UK energy policy 2003 to date.
• Policies, Politics Ethics: Introduction to ‘Politics’; Introduction to ‘Ethics’.
• Review of Mallon’s Book: Review of Ch.1-3 of course textbook.
• Climate Change and Energy: - Global population growth; - Global energy demand; - Greenhouse Gas Emissions; - Contraction and Convergence; - Socolow’s wedges.
• Sustainability & The Energy Hierarchy: - Definitions of Sustainability; ‘Triple Bottom Line’ Diagrams;- Dwindling fossil fuel supplies; - Using the Energy Hierarchy.
• NIMBYism and Technical Illiteracy: - NIMBYism and Planning issues; - Growing problem of ‘technical illiteracy’.
• Sustainable Heat: - The UK’s primary need for heat energy; - Recovery of wasted heat; - Passive solar principles and the Passivhaus concept.
• Sustainable Biofuels: - Different types of ‘energy crops’; - Solid, liquid and gaseous biofuels; - Conversion technologies; - ‘Food vs. fuel’ debate; - Gallagher Review;
• Sustainable Transport Energy: - 2020 energy and emissions commitments for transport; - ‘The Carbon Challenge’ for transport; - Problems and solutions.
• Integrated Energy Policy: - German Federal Integrated Strategy; - the ‘negawatt’ power station (California).
• Energy from Waste: - Introduction to waste management; - the Waste Hierarchy; - Intro. To Energy from Waste (EfW); - Waste Incineration Directive (WID).
• Waste as Resource: - Development of the ‘Waste as Resource’ (WaR) concept; - Practical implementation.
• EfW and Ethics: - Review of IMechE Reports on EfW and WaR; - Discussion of ethical and political issues.
• Barriers to achieving targets: - Government and Public Sector; - Abuse of BAT & WID; - Role of EA & SEPA; - ‘public’ misconceptions.
• Case Studies: - Application of ethical principles to different renewable energy technologies.
• Sustainability & The Energy Hierarchy: - Definitions of Sustainability; ‘Triple Bottom Line’ Diagrams;- Dwindling fossil fuel supplies; - Using the Energy Hierarchy.
• NIMBYism and Technical Illiteracy: - NIMBYism and Planning issues; - Growing problem of ‘technical illiteracy’.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:4030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Post-school assignment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Pre-school assignment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading125:0025:00Pre-school study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge and understanding of politics and ethics will be taught via formal lectures and guided independent study material. It will be supported by case studies and seminars during the intensive school.
Subject specific, cognitive and communication skills will also be developed during the formal lectures, seminars and guided study material. Time management and IT skills will largely be developed during the guided independent study sessions (including the assignments).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Pre-school assignment (1500 words)
Essay1M50Post-school assignment (1500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assignments will provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their comprehensive and systematic knowledge and understanding of the politics and ethics associated with renewable energy. The post school assignment will build on the pre-school asignment.
Subject specific, cognitive and communication skills will also be assessed through the assignments. The other key skills will not be assessed but students will need to utilise these skills in order to access the self guided material and prepare assignments.

Reflex only: In order to pass the module, students must attain a minimum of 40 in each component of assessment. Failure to reach 40 in each component will result in a module mark no greater than 49. This rule has been introduced as an accreditation requirement on the Reflex programme.

Reading Lists

Timetable