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Module DXX-3507:
Renewable Energy

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Paula Roberts

Overall aims and purpose

This course provides an overview of global energy supply and demand. It studies the most common renewable energy technologies and their role as alternatives or supplements to energy use involving the finite fossil fuel resources. After completing this module, students will have a general understanding of the key benefits and challenges of adopting renewable energy generation on a large scale and will have an opportunity to develop detailed understanding of one particular technology of their choice.

Course content

The first part of the module briefly examines current energy resources, use, efficiency and policy. The course examines alternative renewable resources for fossil fuels involving combustion technologies (e.g. biomass) and non-combustion technologies (e.g. wind, solar PV, solar thermal, heat pump technologies, hydro, wave and tidal) along with associated issues of energy storage and distribution. The course includes a field trip to smaller scale generation projects at a National Trust site, Hafod y Llan. The conclusion of the course is conference with visiting speakers covering renewable energy technologies and their application.

Assessment Criteria


Grade D- to D+ Fundamental points understood and satisfactorily explained in a generally clear manner. No major factual inaccuracies. Works lacks critical analysis and evidence of reading beyond lecture notes.


Grade C- to B+ Principal points well understood and clearly explained in a clear and concise manner. Indication of some critical analysis and synthesis of subject matter. Evidence of reading beyond lecture material. Arguments are well-constructed and logical.


Grade A- to A** Detailed and accurate understanding of subject clearly elucidated in a well-developed style. High level of critical analysis and synthesis of subject matter. Clear evidence of wide reading around the subject. Arguments are clearly-constructed and excellently-evidenced.

Learning outcomes

  1. Understand the range systems and technologies involved with renewable energy capture and storage.

  2. Understand selected renewable energy technologies and their current and potential environmental benefits and costs.

  3. Understand where each type of technology fits into potential end-uses.

  4. An understanding of current energy resources, use and energy conservation measures, embedded in policy.

  5. Demonstrate an ability to synthesize the key elements of complex renewable technologies and present them in the form of a briefing paper written for person with responsibility for a National Energy strategy.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Examination 50
REPORT Briefing paper 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


1 field visits of several sites (8 hours)


1 conference with visiting speakers (3 hours)


1 revision and discussion session (1 hour)

Private study

Private study using electronic and printed resources, discussion with people with experience in the field and discussion with peers on issues associated with renewable energy capture and energy use


13*1 h


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.
  • Recognize the moral, ethical and social issues relating to the subject.
  • Collect and record data generated by a diverse range of methods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance of risk assessment and relevant legislation


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Reading list

Additional reading material i/ references are acknowledged in lectures

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: