Netherlands, Middelburg

Energy Choices: Truth is Relative!

when 13 July 2015 - 7 August 2015
duration 4 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee EUR 1995

In this course students will become familiar with current best practice in the theory and use of analytical “toolkits” for performing fair and honest assessments of energy resource development plans. The specific toolkits considered are those for: (a) lifecycle carbon footprint assessment; (b) responsible waste management parameterization; (c) operational risk analysis; and (d) resource rationing. Additionally, students will learn to combine the results of this interdisciplinary set of assessments into a single, jointly levelized cost comparison of two realistic policy options. The options considered will be related to those facing the Netherlands and Zeeland at the present time, but this process of assessing energy policy truths is designed to be transferable to a wide variety of other technical policy decisions.

Each of the four course weeks consists of a series of seminar discussions of the theory and practice described in 3 recent publications relevant to a given toolkit; a guest lecture by a local scientist active in that field, and student application of the tools to comparisons of energy option pairs. Each week, each team of two or three students will perform and report on a comparison of two of the following six energy development options of particular interest to the Netherlands: (1) wind energy; (2) solar energy; (3) wave and tide energy; (4) energy from coal with carbon capture and storage; (5) shale gas energy; (6) nuclear energy. Any given pair of options will be assessed by at least two different student teams each week, and the best of these reports will be chosen by peer review at the end of the week. The class as a whole will spend the final class meeting combining best weekly reports into a jointly levelized cost assessment of one of the option pairs.

This 4 week course will consist of 210 study hours (7.5 ECTS). Each week there will be 30 hours of classroom meetings supervised by the lead instructor and guest lectures. Students will be expected to dedicate an additional 22.5 hours each week to unsupervised project work and preparatory reading. The grade of each student will consist of the grades of 4 weekly comparative assessment reports (20% each), and the quality of peer reviews prepared in class at the end of each week (4*5%). The latter will have the secondary function of a series of short essay exams displaying individual student mastery of the weekly learning goals.

Course leader

Dr. Joseph Resovsky

Target group

Advanced bachelor students in earth science; environmental science; engineering (especially those with an interest in energy technology); economics and business (especially those with an interest in resource management). Some knowledge of mathematics is preferred.

Course aim

Equips students with the analytical tools for fair assessment of emerging energy alternatives.

Credits info

7.5 EC
+ Certificate of attendance

Fee info

EUR 1995: Including housing
EUR 1295: Excluding housing


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.

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