PLAN30080 Energy Transitions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Politicians hail international agreements as the best way to rebalancing society's relationship with the environment. Many business leaders advance technological innovation as the solution. A growing chorus of economists claim that market-based instruments will prompt more environmentally sensitive ways, while an increasing number of environmentalists query if the economic logic they believe generated environmental problems can be used to resolve them. These varying perspectives, and the interests underpinning them, often compete in the arena of environmental politics. Consequently, environmental planning and policy work regularly involves coordinating these different and frequently contending voices to facilitate the formulation and implementation of actions for the realisation of a more sustainable future. Hence, this module examines the political dimensions of environmental planning and policy debates. Attention is allocated to teasing apart the complexity of such debates and learning how they can be successfully analysed to increase depth of understanding and effect change. This is done by exploring the politically contested terrain of energy transitions. From wood to coal and oil to renewables, energy transitions have been central to humanity's development. Each transition has brought enormous social, economic and environmental change. Climate change, increasing costs, environmental justice, national energy security and geopolitics are just some of the issues propelling energy transitions in the twenty-first century. Consequent on the complexity of these issues, the task of identifying the most appropriate pathway to achieving a sustainable energy transition has become the focus of much debate in environmental planning and policy. Accordingly, this module has two overall aims:
(1) to equip students with the skills to identify, understand and analyse the politics of environmental planning and policy;
(2) to tease apart the often confusing elements of energy transition debates so that students can identify the range of options available for a transition to a post-carbon world, as well as a critical understanding the benefits and constraints associated with each option.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

- demonstrate an ability to identify and analyse the political dynamics of environmental planning and policy;
- demonstrate a clear knowledge of a range of key policy issues concerning environmental governance, specifically as it relates to climate change and energy debates;
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the benefits and constraints of different energy options as a response to concerns about climate change;
- demonstrate a knowledge of the different energy transition issues pertinent to different scales of governance;
- demonstrate an ability to critically apply theory in the practice of formulating real world environmental planning and policy;
- successfully engage in self-directed learning.

Indicative Module Content:

Climate Change Politics
Energy dilemmas
Geopolitical Dimensions of Energy
Energy Security in an Insecure World
Energy Justice Debates
Debating Energy Sources and Impacts
Global Transitions
National Transitions

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
critical writing;
reflective learning;
problem-based learning;
case-based learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Project report. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided relative to the assessment rubric discussed with the class.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Tues 14:00 - 16:50