Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5320M Energy Systems, Policy and Economics for Engineers

15 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Professor T Cockerill

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Bachelor degree in Science, Engineering or equivalent.

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module will introduce students with engineering backgrounds to some key issues in energy systems, including policy and economics. While the intention is to provide a broad grounding, the breadth of the subject means that the module cannot attempt to be comprehensive. Instead, there will be a focus on those technical elements of policy and economics that impact directly on the work of the engineer in the energy industry. The module will bring out the way in which engineering, policy, and micro-economics are uniquely intertwined within the energy domain. The majority of the material will be qualitative in nature, but comprehensive quantitative and analytical skills will be required to gain full value from the module.

Learning outcomes
On successfully completing this module, students will be able to:
(1) Describe the key challenges facing the UK energy system, and some of the engineering systems available to help solve them
(2) Articulate the role of engineers in facilitating the move to a sustainable energy system, and the need to work with policy makers and economists
(3) Use their understanding of energy systems, policy and economics to frame the engineering development of new energy technologies, thereby enhancing the likelihood that such technologies will have an impact
(4) Explain why certain energy technologies have been successful, while others have failed to have an impact, and set out the implications for future development
(5) Quantitatively evaluate the financial feasibility of potential investments in energy technologies
(6) Use selected analytical and modeling techniques to compare the potential of differing technical, policy and social approaches to developing a sustainable energy system.
Upon successful completion of this module the following UK-SPEC learning outcome descriptors are satisfied:

Ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support study of their own engineering discipline and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively (SM3m)
Awareness of developing technologies related to mechanical engineering (SM4m)
Understanding of concepts relevant to the discipline, some from outside engineering, and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively, including in engineering projects (SM6m, SM9M)
A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights most of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the specialisation (SM8M)
Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques (EA2)
Understanding of, and the ability to apply, an integrated or systems approach to solving complex engineering problems (EA4m)
Ability to use fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies (EA5m)
Ability to collect and analyse research data and to use appropriate engineering analysis tools in tackling unfamiliar problems, such as those with uncertain or incomplete data or specifications, by the appropriate innovation, use or adaptation of engineering analytical methods (EA7M)
Awareness that engineers need to take account of the commercial and social contexts in which they operate (EL2, EL9M)
Awareness that engineering activities should promote sustainable development and ability to apply quantitative techniques where appropriate (EL4, EL11M)
Awareness of relevant regulatory requirements governing engineering activities in the context of the particular specialisation (EL5m, EL12M)
Understanding of the key drivers for business success, including innovation, calculated commercial risks and customer satisfaction (EL7m)
Understanding of contexts in which engineering knowledge can be applied (eg operations and management, application and development of technology, etc) (P1)
Understanding of the use of technical literature and other information sources (P4)
Knowledge of relevant legal and contractual issues (P5)
Understanding of appropriate codes of practice and industry standards (P6)
Awareness of quality issues and their application to continuous improvement (P7)
Ability to work with technical uncertainty (P8)
A thorough understanding of current practice and its limitations, and some appreciation of likely new developments (P9m)
Ability to apply engineering techniques taking account of a range of commercial and industrial constraints (P10m)
Understanding of different roles within an engineering team and the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility, which may be as a team member or leader (P11m)
Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)
Plan self-learning and improve performance, as the foundation for lifelong learning/CPD (G2)
Exercise initiative and personal responsibility, which may be as a team member or leader (G4)


Overview of energy systems and technologies; Introduction to energy policy & economics; Integrated approaches to energy systems; Technology issues in energy policy; Investment appraisal for energy systems; Principles of energy economics and markets; Social issues; Electricity systems and markets; Energy systems models; Case studies.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

READING, REVIEW & RESEARCH (50 hours): In view of the interdisciplinary nature of the module, and the engineering background of the students, there will be a significant quantity of supporting reading required. There will be specific reading and follow up research for each major element of the module.
ASSESSED COURSE WORK (40 hours): Two course work assignments will be set with the students working in groups to assimilate and analyse data, then producing a short individual report.
FORMATIVE COURSE WORK (30 hours): Selected lectures will set non-assessed follow-up exercises (e.g. numerical exercises on energy investment appraisal) for students to complete in their own time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored in a formative way by the review of exercises/presentations during tutorial classes and in a summative way by marking of the coursework reports

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportProject Report 1500 words30.00
Oral Presentation10 minute group presentations10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Where students are required to resit the coursework, this will take the form of a 2000 word project report with the same overall specification as the main project report. This extended report will be worth 40% of the module mark, as it replaces both the 1500 word report and the presentation. Students will be required to choose a different topic from any original submission, to be agreed in advance with the module manager. Students will be permitted a 4 week period during the summer to complete the report.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam2 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/11/2023


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019