ENGR621-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Energy, Technology and Society

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


The roles of civil, natural resources, electrical, mechanical, chemical/process engineering, environmental psychology, sociology and economics in the multi-disciplinary subject of energy engineering; the application of thermodynamics and electricity in energy system conceptual design, advanced concepts in economics comparing paradigms such as classical, neo-classical and steady-state economics; the decoupling of economic growth from energy consumption; energy poverty and energy services.

Energy, Technology & Society is a research-led postgraduate paper focusing on the relationship of energy systems with the technologies they use, and societies in which they operate. It is designed to broaden your undergraduate degree knowledge and skills to develop an appreciation of how engineering and other disciplines contribute and interact in the energy field and is a core paper in the MEngSt (Renewable Energy) degree. The course is open to students from a range of suitable engineering, or science, backgrounds. The body of knowledge aims to develop a rigorous critical understanding the roles of key disciplines in energy engineering, their complexities and contra-indications, the necessary compromises in energy engineering decision-making, and their application to emerging issues, as informed by the latest theoretical and applied developments in international peer-reviewed literature.

The course is split into three sections that reflect the general philosophy of the paper. In the first module historical and potential future energy transitions will be critically evaluated. The second module focuses on energy poverty and energy economics, including an introduction to the history of economic thought and new emerging economic paradigms. In the third module, you will learn about the energetic analysis of energy systems, and the roles of electricity, heat and fuels in renewable energy systems.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

- Discuss the multi-disciplinary nature of energy systems engineering and explain the roles of each discipline
- Critically analyse transitions in historic, present and emerging energy systems through a multi-disciplinary lens.
- Explain the concepts of energy services, energy poverty and the impacts of emerging technologies and thinking on these.
- Critically analyse historic, present and emerging economic, business and cultural paradigms, including energy cooperatives, particularly in relation to renewable energy
- Discuss leading-edge knowledge on individual and small-group responses to energy issues from environmental psychology.
- Perform and critically evaluate life cycle analysis, energy returned on energy invested, and energy stored on energy invested, calculations.
- Demonstrate high-level problem solving skills through the analysis and understanding of complex energy systems


Subject to the approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00 E14 Lecture Theatre
21 Feb - 10 Apr
2 May - 5 Jun

Course Coordinator

Rebecca Peer


Rebecca Peer


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignment 1 30%
Assignment 2 30%
final exam 40%

The assessment for this paper will comprise three major components – two assignments and the final exam. All of the material covered in modules 1 (energy transitions) will be covered in assignment 1, and all of the material covered in module 2 (energy poverty and energy economics) will be covered in assignment 2. The third module (energetics and life cycle analysis) will be covered in the final exam, however questions may incorporate elements of modules 1 & 2. Alongside this, presentations will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

The internal assessment for the course has two aims. The first is clearly for us to obtain information about how well you understand the material being taught. Such assessment is known as summative assessment. However the assessment also plays a second more important role, in that it provides you with feedback on your progress, and highlights things that you haven’t completely understood. This is called formative assessment. Make sure you do all internal assessments for the course conscientiously, participate in discussions and reflect on your work after it has been marked.

You cannot pass this course unless you pass all presentation assessments AND achieve a mark of at least 40% in the final exam.  A student who narrowly fails to achieve 40% in the exam, but who performs very well in the assignments and presentations, may be eligible for a pass in the course.

All assignments must be done individually.

All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted unless a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control.  They should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.  A medical certificate should be obtained where applicable

Students in this course can apply for aegrotat consideration provided they have attended lectures and participated in class discussions.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,133.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 8 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENGR621 Occurrences

  • ENGR621-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022