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EEE3021 : Renewable Energy Systems and Smart Grids

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nick Baker
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is to introduce students to the fundamentals engineering principles of all major sources of renewable energy, including a detailled understanding of its conversion into electricity and subsequent distribution. Students will gain an overview of the engineering challenges of renewable energy production and a wider understanding of renewable energy in a societal context. The existing and future requirements of the distribution and transmission networks in relation to increased renewable and distributed generation will be covered, including development of the Smart Grid. The leading technologies in the field will be examined in detail, with a focus on electrical machine and power conversion requirements.

Outline Of Syllabus

The outline syllabus for this module is as follows:

• Energy picture: Put energy generation into context - general trend in energy consumption and present production.
• Resource understanding: Relative abundance of resource, national maximum resource of major renewable sources.
• Hydro power: Understanding of engineering behind the resource – large verses low head, run of river – turbine options, resource calculations, environmental constraints.
• Solar thermal and PV: Understanding of engineering behind the resource - understanding of basic physical processes, overview of economic viability.
• Wind engineering: Detailed understanding of engineering behind the resource – basic fluid dynamics – Betz limit. Components of typical state of the art wind turbine. Fixed speed versus variable speed, gearbox versus direct drive.
• Wave and Tidal power: Understanding of engineering behind the resource –challenges and state of the art.
• Social + economic context: Appreciation of importance of environmental legislation and other topics outside of the engineering discipline such as details of planning, consenting and financing.
• Barriers and costs derived from existing electrical infrastructure.
• Future grid development, including the Smart Grid, load manipulation, energy storage.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Complete coursework - including 10 minute presentation to lecturer.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:3012:00Revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading110:0010:0010 hours of directed reading. Includes IEEE papers and web references.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study137:3037:30Personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and module material provide core material and guidance for further reading. The module material also provides problem solving practice and improves planning skills and on-line and computer competences and gives the students the opportunity to manage their own learning. Five hours of directed research is to give students practice assessing specific complex issues which will be discussed in the tutorials. The coursework develops research skills and the ability to utilise relevant information from different sources.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A80Conventional written exam – chose two of three questions
Oral Presentation102M2010 min presentation to Lecturer + one other observer in front of five other students. Maximum of 1000 words.
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
EEE8157Renewable Energy Systems and Smart Grids2N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination is an appropriate way to assess both theoretical knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills under time-constraint as required in industry. The presentation is further assessment of the coursework, but incorporates a student’s ability to orally set out a clear argument, draw conclusions and respond to questions.

Reading Lists