Governing Energy Transitions (919N1)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This modul will introduce you to a systems perspective on long-term, socio-technical change in the field of energy in order to explore the co-evolution of technologies with political, institutional, economic and social factors. The module will illustrate this conceptual perspective with historical case studies from the energy sector and explore the implications for governing transitions to a low carbon energy system in the developed world. You will analyse and reflect on current policy approaches to governing low carbon transitions. Substantive issues to be covered include: the historic transition from horse-drawn carriages to auto-mobility, low carbon innovation policy in the UK, the Energy Transition approach in the Netherlands, the politics of governing transitions and the role interests play, bottom-up approaches to changing energy systems such as the Transition Towns movement, the role of household practices as well as strategies of incumbent energy companies to respond to pressures for change towards a low carbon energy system. 

This module will enable you to:

  • demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the definition and applicability of key innovation studies concepts to studying socio-technical change in energy systems, such as carbon lock-in, path dependency, co-evolution of technology with political, institutional, economic and social factors 
  • apply the conceptual understanding and empirical knowledge gained from the course to the analysis of a variety of energy systems in developed countries (including electricity generation, heat production and mobility) 
  • critically discuss and evaluate different policy approaches to governing low carbon transitions. 

Teaching

33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar

Assessment

20%: Coursework (Group presentation)
80%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.