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A trailer for the course can be found here. To enrol, or to find out more information, visit the FutureLearn course page here.

Exeter experts lead free online course on transforming energy systems

Experts from the University of Exeter are leading an innovative, free online course to explore how the UK’s energy systems must evolve in order to help tackle climate change.

World-leading researchers from the University’s Energy Policy group, based at the Penryn campus in Cornwall, will deliver the new Transforming Energy Systems: Why governance matters’ course, from June 17th 2019.

The four-week programme, the latest in the University’s series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), is open for anyone who has an interest in learning more about energy system governance and change.

The course will examines the key elements of effective energy governance – including using real-life examples of how it is already being implemented in certain parts of the world – as well as outlining a governance framework that is capable of meeting the carbon budgets set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Professor Catherine Mitchell, lead academic for the course and from the Exeter’s Energy Policy group said: “Over the last seven years the focus of the IGov project at the University of Exeter has been on the role of governance for innovation within the GB energy system.

“It has considered how current governance is constraining change, as well as how governance can shift to enable a rapid transformation towards a more sustainable energy system.

“The course is open to absolutely anyone – from members of the public to energy sector stakeholders and policymakers – who want to explore the ways in which we can transform our energy systems to help reduce the impact of climate change.

“Throughout the course there will be lots of opportunity for people to debate how this is best done, and also and how this can lead to significant improvements”.

The issues of climate change, its impacts, and our collective responses are rising in the consciousness of civil society, industry leaders, and politicians.

Last October’s IPCC report on Global Warming of 1.5°C; this month’s CCC report on Net Zero; and declarations of a state of climate emergency at both national and local levels have highlighted the urgency of the issue and the scale of the challenge.

Importantly, the challenges are not (just) technical in nature. Rather, there is an urgent need to shift to more effective forms of governance in order to tackle climate change with the urgency that’s needed.

The new course runs over four weeks, with each week focusing on a specific topic:

Week 1: ‘Energy system transformation: Changes, challenges and governance’ introduces the basics of energy systems; the links between energy systems, climate change, air pollution and equity; the value of taking a 4D approach (decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitisation and democratisation); and the role of energy governance in system transformation.

Week 2: ‘Emerging Energy Systems’ examines how the characteristics and operation of energy systems are changing, particularly in terms of moves to a smarter, more flexible future; how this is affecting value flows and new business models within energy systems; what energy system transformation means for current institutions; and considers the broader role of people, scale and society.

Week 3: ‘People, Scale and Society’ explores the importance of people, society and scale to the energy system transformation; the importance of ‘meaningful public consent’; the increasing focus on ‘local’ energy, and the implications of this;  society’s role in system change; and system optimisation across multiple scales.

Week 4: ‘Energy governance change for rapid decarbonisation’ considers how we might coordinate the governance of electricity, heat and transport; the importance of a people-focused energy system, and how to get it; explores examples of good energy governance from other countries; and proposes a fit-for purpose energy governance framework for energy system transformation.

A trailer for the course can be found here. To enrol, or to find out more information, visit the FutureLearn course page here.

Date: 22 May 2019