Renewable Energy

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What is Renewable Energy

Climate change has been described as the biggest challenge of our time and energy is a major source of the greenhouse gas emissions causing it. Renewable energy will play a vital role in transitioning the world from its present reliance on fossil fuels toward a sustainable energy system. You can be part of this exciting change by building your skills and knowledge in renewable energy resources and technologies, energy systems analysis including demand-side management, and in energy topics of personal interest.

Renewable Energy in NZ

New Zealand has a primary energy mix of approximately 40 percent renewables and 60 percent fossil fuels, making it an interesting country in which to study options for a transition to a more sustainable energy system. Over 80 percent of our electricity is presently produced from renewables which provides us with a good start. Researchers at UC are actively engaged in sustainable energy projects in Pacific Island nations and in South East Asia.

What will I learn?

Learn about the breadth of renewable energy resources and conversion technologies, system modelling techniques, challenges surrounding energy sustainability, and practical solutions to energy issues, preparing you to transition your career into a profession and/or industry within the renewable and sustainable energy sectors.

Renewable Energy is transforming the world from a reliance on fossil fuels to sustainable energy systems. Researchers at UC are involved in renewable energy projects in Pacific Island nations and in South East Asia as well as New Zealand-based work like transitioning the Burnham Army Camp to more sustainable energy sources.

Renewable Energy is a multidisciplinary subject with relevant courses taught by all departments within the College of Engineering but the programme is based in the Deparmtent of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

Students will learn about the variety of renewable energy resources and conversion technologies, system modelling techniques, challenges to sustainability and practical solutions to common issues. Our postgraduate qualifications are excellent pathways to careers in the growing renewable and sustainable energy sector.

Postgraduate qualifications 

  • The Master of Engineering Studies (Renewable Energy) and Master of Civil Engineering (Renewable Energy) are one-year programmes aimed at graduates from a wide range of engineering backgrounds, with intake in February. With a foundation course, four core courses and a range of electives to choose from, the MEngSt and MCE are designed to be flexible to the needs of prospective students.
    • The endorsement within the Master of Engineering Studies is for those who wish to study Renewable Energy, but do not have a civil engineering background.
    • The endorsement within the Master of Civil Engineering is for those who wish to study Renewable Energy, and have a civil engineering background.
  • The Certificate of Proficiency is for students who do not want to enrol for a full programme but want to study a specific area. Students may undertake an individual course and be awarded a Certificate of Proficiency on passing.

Entry requirements

Candidates must normally have completed one of the following:

  • BE(Hons) with first or second class honours
  • BSc(Hons) in appropriate subjects.

The relevance and standard of previous study will be the main criteria for approval.

Foundation course

Compulsory courses

  • ENGR 621 Energy, Technology and Society
  • ENCN 623 Energy Systems Modelling and Analysis
  • ENEL 667 Renewable Electricity System Design
  • ENCN 625 Wind Resource Modelling

Elective courses

  • ENCI 601 Risk Management (energy project)
  • ENGR 682 Project (subject to availability; S2 only)
  • ENGR 683 Project (offered to top students)
  • ENCM 620 Construction Procurement and Contract Administration (energy project)
  • ENCN 401 Engineering in Developing Communities
  • ENGR 404 Renewable Energy Technologies and Management
  • DRRE 408 GIS for Disaster Risk and Resilience (energy project)
  • ENCH 483 Advanced Energy Processing Technologies and Systems


The programme uses teaching staff from the University of Canterbury and, from time to time, specialised staff from overseas universities.

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