• Offered by Research School of Engineering
  • ANU College ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Course subject Engineering
  • Areas of interest Engineering, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Engineering
Providing energy for the entire planet without causing catastrophic climate change requires profound Energy Change.  Major developments are occurring in the energy sector, both with energy technologies and the economic, social and policy measures that accompany them.  This course focuses on renewable energy resources – the technologies that will comprise a large part of global Energy Change.  It aims to help students identify the major ‘big picture’ questions in the area of energy resources and develop technically sound ways of quantitatively answering them.
The course commences with an overview of world energy fossil-fuel resources, the scientific evidence for climate change, and an introduction to asking good questions - with a focus on ball-park analysis and appropriate physical units.  
We next look at individual renewable energy resources in detail (solar PV, nuclear, wind, solar thermal, hydro, bio, geothermal and tidal). We examine their scientific and technical foundations, available resources, integration with the grid, and broader economic and social issues to assess their ultimate potential as well as their practical limitations.  Alongside the technical assessment of energy resources, we dedicate individual lectures to calculating the levelized cost of electricity, understanding the current and future electrical grid, and examining broader social and political issues concerned with energy use.  Because of the rapid pace of change in this field, the course focuses on developing students’ skills in framing questions and finding answers, as well as being able to critically evaluate those answers and support them with scientific evidence.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.  Explain the current status of global available energy resources and assess their trends and potential.
Thermodynamically calculate energy conversion efficiencies for fossil fuels and all proposed renewable energy technologies.
Describe for each technology the size of the technical resource, capacity for integration with the grid, costs and broader contextual issues.
Calculate the levelised cost of electricity for any energy technology, and explain the caveats of the method.
Develop the ability to ask insightful open questions, with an emphasis on quantifiability, normalised numbers, and the use of appropriate units
Explain the interaction between energy sources, energy efficiency measures, storage technologies and present/future demand patterns of electricity. 
Develop a personal, quantified, well-argued view of possible energy futures.

Professional Skills Mapping:
Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment and Professional Competencies 

Indicative Assessment

Major project (40% total)

Questions Portfolio (20%)

Exam (20%)

Letter to Minister (10%)

Assignment (10%)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed ENGN2226. Incompatible with ENGN6516.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3852
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $5130
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7809 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions