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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOEV5003M City Systems: Energy

15 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Sheridan Few

Taught: 1 Jan to 30 Jun View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Energy systems across the world are changing. Clean technology, public participation, and energy justice are high priority areas demanding action. Cities can create energy systems that improve air quality, reduce fuel poverty, and drive growth in the green economy. This module uses a mixed lecture and problem based approach to give participants the tools to understand urban energy systems and design interventions for sustainable change. Energy systems are a complex mix of engineering and technology, but also social practises, economic incentives, and political institutions. Understanding how all these interact is critical to crafting sustainable energy solutions. This module gives students the tools to develop that understanding, and to be able to diagnose and solve real world energy problems in contemporary cities.


This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and analytical skills needed to critically engage with debates and practice on urban energy systems. Urban energy systems are the future of smarter, decentralised cities but will also remain within global and national infrastructure and commodity flows. Understanding, critically evaluating, and generating solutions to urban energy issues will all be important skills for future urban sustainability professionals and this module tackles these areas.

Learning outcomes
The programme level outcomes this module fulfills are:
• Diagnose and solve real world urban problems using new data analysis and action research techniques.
• Critically analyse the social, environmental and economic impacts of key urban systems and how they are evaluated.
• Understand multilevel decision-making across critical systems and how suitability metrics are mobilised to affect decision-making.
• Evaluate opportunities to embed sustainability in system design, governance and re-production.

On completion of this module, students will:
• understand what constitutes urban energy system; its technologies, institutions and interaction with society,
• understand the key drivers of energy supply and demand from the perspective of the energy trilemma (energy security, affordability and decarbonisation),
• be able to identify city specific issues raised in debates on energy systems such as fuel poverty, air quality and economic development,
• be able to communicate the purpose of urban energy interventions,
• Critically evaluate interventions in and options for urban energy systems,
• develop in-depth specialist knowledge of techniques relevant to urban energy systems, and
• demonstrate an advanced understanding of concepts, information and techniques used by energy system planners and stakeholders at the forefront of the discipline.

Skills outcomes
Becoming familiar with energy terminologies and metrics is key to critical evaluation of competing schemes. This will include energy specific data such as the carbon intensity of grid electricity and how it is computed, conversion factors between energy units such as kWh and tonnes of oil equivalent, and economic indicators such as energy return on investment and levelised costs of electricity.


• Urban energy vectors, metrics, and technologies.
• Demand, supply and socio-environmental impacts.
• Energy systems governance, control and business models
• Decentralised energy technologies and systems
• The challenge of thermal comfort
• The challenge of urban mobility, efficiency, electricity or hydrogen trade-offs.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Group learning22.004.00
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Private study will be undertaken as party of the student’s problem based learning. It will be guided around a specific problem, set by the module leader and contribute to the overall learning outcomes of the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1 x 3500 [equivalent*] word equivalent case report100.00
Group ProjectFormative Group Presentation0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit will be an Individual Essay

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/08/2023 15:41:24


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