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Alternative Energy Strategies



[BSc], EES, S

Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: Energy Science.

Course description

What does our energy future look like? Perhaps we will see solar installations in the Sahara, or the Atlantic coast lined with wave energy generators, from Scotland to Portugal. We might see hundreds of new nuclear power stations and tidal installations, along with wind turbines on every hill and ridgeline.

In this course, we will investigate what efforts are needed to decarbonize our modern society, and whether it is possible to keep up with increasing world population and energy demands. We will investigate future energy scenarios and quantify their influence on anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

The first part of the course will cover the technologies needed for harnessing renewable energy, including energy storage, electricity transmission, electric vehicles, and jet fuel alternatives. We will also investigate technologies needed for reducing energy use, such as smart meters, passive heating/cooling, and grid monitoring.

We will then examine the political and scientific arguments surrounding energy intensity. Is it really possible to decouple economic growth and energy usage?

Finally, students will develop several models for energy forecasting. By balancing multiple generation types, they will evaluate these models for their contribution to emissions reductions, social development, and public health.

Learning objectives

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Outline and discuss the technologies needed for harnessing renewable energy.

  • Evaluate the economic, scientific, and social arguments surrounding energy intensity.

  • Understand the concept of exponential growth and how this influences energy and emission decoupling.

  • Build robust models for forecasting future energy usage and analyse the data for their impact on society.