Module code: POLM044

Module Overview

This module provides an exploration of the past, present, and future energy supply and demand infrastructure, policy and public engagement aimed at reaching greenhouse gas reduction targets and tackling climate change. This is a practical module aimed at a wide range of students, especially those interested in transdisciplinary people-focused energy transitions and climate change policy, focused on policy issues rather than theoretical arguments. This module will examine and critique relevant theories and frameworks on policy mixes, place-based approaches to social acceptance, individual behaviour change and energy justice. Additionally, students will explore relevant energy policy analysis, survey-based, and qualitative interview- and focus group-based methodological approaches common across disciplines discussed in this module. Students will gain a grounding in energy systems, the energy policy landscape, and gain a critical perspective on how to reach energy emissions reduction goals, with the use of the UK as a case study example. The module is of particular interest to those aiming to work in shaping energy policy at the regional, national or global level.

Module provider

SOL - Sustainability, Civil and Env Eng

Module Leader

WARREN George (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 94

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 40

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to decarbonising energy, and the challenges to achieving goals of tackling climate change. 

  • A background to energy systems: energy mixes, networks, and demand-side characteristics.

  • A historical overview of demand- and supply-side energy policy.

  • Means of assessing policies, and conducting policy analysis.

  • Public acceptance for a sustainable energy future, and its relationship to energy policy impact: local and national level.

  • Public support and acceptance of new, sustainable and controversial technologies.

  • Public engagement with domestic energy saving.

  • Domestic energy use and policy.

  • Bottom-up approaches to just energy transitions.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Individual written assignment 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to:
The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, analytical and critical thinking on energy policy.
Summative assessment:
The summative assessment for this module will be a post-module individual written assignment focusing on evaluating, critically reflecting, and generating recommendations for policy aimed at decarbonising energy use or supply, chosen by the student in agreement with the module leader (100% of module mark).
Formative assessment:
Students will be given the possibility to complete an online test at the end of each unit so as to gauge their level of knowledge.
Written feedback on students’ formative assessment will be provided to help students address the summative assessment.

Module aims

  • This module explores policy related to reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the supply of and demand for energy, additionally using the UK context as a case study. The various aims, include:
  • Provide an in-depth understanding of the energy system and the history of energy policy.
  • Create space for reflection about the role of the public in supporting and leading the energy transition.
  • Equip students with the tools to better understand energy systems.
  • Critically evaluate energy policy.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 The student will be able to understand energy systems, including the national energy mixes, networks and demand-side characteristics. KC
002 The student will be able to summarise, analyse and critically evaluate past and present energy policies. KC
003 The student will be able to apply theories of public acceptance and behaviour change to development of energy policies. KCPT
004 The student will acquire the necessary skills to generate new ideas for energy policy. KCPT
005 The student will acquire a good command of the key methodologies in energy policy analysis. KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module is designed to provide an exploration of the past and present state of energy use, supply and policy, and offer spaces for reflection and critical analysis of current and future energy policy to achieve goals related to environmental sustainability and reducing the negative impact of energy generation and use. The module has a particular focus on the role of the public in achieving the transformations needed, and the importance of their incorporation into policy analysis and future decarbonisation discourse.
The module presents the energy system and policy as a complex and contested policy domain, with much promise and many pitfalls to success. The module uses the UK context as a case study to allow for granularity in understanding and evaluation of energy policies. Real-life policy examples and case studies will be outlined, and critically analysed, to allow for policy evaluation. In particular, critical reflection on the energy system and policy landscape among students will be promoted, and this module will take an active learning approach to equip students with the tools to do this. Learnings from this module, both in terms of subject knowledge and transferable skills, will be applicable to and inform policy evaluation of other sub-national, national and global contexts.
The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Videos, voice recordings and online resources.

  • Live sessions.

  • Assessment writing and policy analysis guides.

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: POLM044

Other information

The Institute for Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:
Digital Capabilities – The students will use digital resources and digital systems to acquire and assess information on energy solutions for business and society.
Employability – The students will acquire specialist as well as transferable skills that are increasingly important in nowadays world. 
Sustainability – The students will gain a deeper understanding of how energy systems work and how to assess an organisations performance in those dimensions.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sustainable Development in Practice (Online) MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

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 2025/6 academic year.