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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3630 Strategic Energy Issues

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Prof Peter Taylor

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will explore a series of topical issues in energy, weighing up information and opinions from a variety of sources and requiring students to draw both on their own degree background and to engage with new disciplines and perspectives. A key feature of the teaching is that students will work together in small groups to prepare an in-depth presentation on one of the topics that will be delivered as part of a seminar debate.


To give students a wider strategic overview of issues in the energy area utilising the breadth of expertise available across the University, with particular reference to the major energy industries (fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables).

Engaging with perspectives from earth and environmental sciences and environmental social sciences, students will critically explore the science, politics and policy related to current energy debates.

Learning outcomes
- Application of student's subject-specific skills to understanding major energy issues.
- An appreciation of how scientific, technical, economic and social considerations are all relevant to energy decision-making
- An understanding of the conflicting factors that influence decision making regarding development of energy resources.

Skills outcomes
In addition to developing skills in planning, organisation, teamwork and presentation, students will be expected to learn how to weigh up different arguments and make reasoned judgements.


Topics covered will be drawn from:

- What is the future for hydrocarbons?
- How do carbon dioxide levels relate to climate?
- Can carbon sequestration allow fossil fuels to be burned without reaching critical levels of greenhouse gases?
- Is it possible to dispose of radioactive waste safely and permanently?
- Can renewable energies make a major contribution to the global energy budget?
- Is shale gas a panacea or a problem?
- What contribution can energy efficiency and other demand-side measures make to reducing global CO2 emissions?

There may be additional topics in future years.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours74.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will research specific topics, studying a different topic every 2 weeks. Each student will be allocated 1 topic to study in depth and make a presentation as part of a seminar debate. They must however contribute to the discussion of all topics during the seminars.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Presentations and other contributions to the seminars will be assessed throughout the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PresentationPresentations delivered as part of a seminar debate35.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)35.00

The re-sit for this Module, including for First Attempts, is by examination only.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Exam with advance information on questions1 hr 65.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)65.00

The re-sit for this Module, including for First Attempts, is by examination only.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 08/09/2020 17:33:47


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