Module code: ENGM184

Module Overview

Energy use and the systems put in place to supply it are responsible for the majority of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide and hence much climate change policy is directed towards the energy sector. Energy is also central to economic development and social welfare and thus energy security and cost minimisation are high on national policy agendas. Energy markets throughout the world are also evolving rapidly, with privatisation, competition, market structure and regulation remaining prominent issues in the UK, Europe and internationally. The range of challenges for energy policy is diverse and exciting.

This Module focuses on the transitions needed from the current situations in energy use, supply, markets and policy to those required as part of a long term, sustainable, low carbon energy system. The sessions will introduce the range of low carbon energy options including energy efficiency, energy storge, renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage. The module will explore different low-carbon scenarios and policies and how these could fit with the Sustainable Development Goals, and what barriers maybe encountered along the route to a just transition, in both the global North and South. 

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

LEACH Matthew (Sust & CEE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 9

Independent Learning Hours: 75

Lecture Hours: 19

Seminar Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 25

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to energy: overview of end use, supply, economics and policy

  • Energy end use: current patterns and trends (including transport)

  • Energy conversion and supply: overview of resources; functions of markets; focus on electricity, heat for buildings and transport fuels

  • Low carbon energy options: carbon management and demand side actions; carbon capture and storage; renewables & nuclear

  • Low carbon scenarios & energy system transitions; economics and timing of CO2 mitigation; links to Sustainable Development and other policy objectives

  • Accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy: role of institutions, behavioural change, policy

Open discussion on energy sector responses to climate change

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Pre-module assignment linked to pre-reading 20
Coursework Group Project Ass.1: SWOT 5
Coursework Group Project Ass.2: Pathway 5
Coursework Group Project Ass.3: Risks 5
Oral exam or presentation Group Project Ass.4: Presentation 5
Coursework Post-module Individual Essay 60

Alternative Assessment

An individual essay will replace the group project work

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Basic knowledge of the topic, developed through pre-module readings

  • In depth knowledge and understanding of one or more sectors or topics by the end of the module, developed through the groupwork

  • Ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate information to produce strategies and recommendations, by the end of the module.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Pre-module short answer assignment linked to pre-reading, max 1000 words. Submitted at the start of the module (20% of module mark)

  • Group project work undertaken during module week; report max 5 pages. One piece of work will be submitted by 5pm on days 2 to 5 of the module. The groupwork allows students to develop and show their understanding of the detail of one area. (4 x 5% of module mark)

  • 2000 word post-module individual report/essay. (60% of module mark.) The assignment allows the students to demonstrate their abilities to gather information from a variety of sources, analyse and synthesise that to form strategies and recommendations.

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Feedback on the group presentation made on the final day

  • Feedback available throughout the week through class discussions, and through interactions during the groupwork sessions each day

  • The module leader is available to be consulted throughout the week or post-module on any questions arising from the module or assignments

Module aims

  • Develop specialist knowledge of the energy field within a more general environmental/sustainability framework
  • Provide students from natural science, engineering, social science and other backgrounds with a broad   understanding of   the role of energy, and of the range of economic, human and environmental impacts associated with energy systems
  • Introduce students to the complex relationships between all sectors and regions via use of scenario modeling

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop the ability to explain the range of issues relevant to energy transitions in both developed and developing countries KPT
002 Understand the key issues behind the technological aspects of renewables and other energy sources KPT
003 Be able to engage in debates about policy and strategic energy/carbon management issues in a broad range of areas across the energy sector KCPT
004 Demonstrate the ability to write clear, critical and authoritative evaluations, both on technical aspects of the energy sector and on policy issues concerning energy PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Motivate students to engage with the breadth of this subject, and to learn to take a multi-disciplinary perspective, integrating physical science, economic and social science understandings.

  • Provide students with a thorough knowledge of a variety of approaches to analysing and developing Transitions and help them to integrate and apply their existing knowledge.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures and seminars, including opportunities for questions and discussion

  • Class discussions and debates, with which students are expected to engage actively

  • Week-long group case study and role-play

  • Independent study


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM184

Other information

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: the group project develops important team working skills: creativity, through the role-play; respect and listening skills within the team, adaptability to feedack given each day, public speaking and presentation skills from the final class presentation. The introduction of technologies behind the various energy sources is also useful and transferrable knowledge for anyone wishing to work with or within the energy sector.

Sustainability: the module emphasises the need to take a multi-disciplinary perspective. In particular, students will gain the experience of utilising a scenario simulator tool, which will provide insights into the interconnections between different sectors and policies, which is the heart of the challenge and opportunity in the search for sustainable development.

Resourcefulness and resilience: the group work helps students develop their resourcefulness and resilience through peer-to-peer learning and the need to work effectively and efficiently in small groups to produce a series of assessed outputs within limited blocks of time. The module leader is on hand throughout the exercise to facilitate the groups and help students resolve any difficulties, and to facilitate a mutually supportive learning environment to which students are expected to contribute and to benefit from.

Digital capabilities: students will learn to use a scenario simulator which is a web-based tool with links to many other online data sources. Students will therefor develop the ability to access and evaluate different types of relevant digital information (e.g. academic, commercial, policy) and combine them to make informed decisions for the simulated scenarios.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.