Spring 2019

Course Syllabus

Renewable Energy Systems A

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Photo: GE Reports

Semester & Location:

Spring 2019 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines: Sustainability, Environmental Studies, International Relations
Faculty Members:

Carlos García-Robles -

Program Director:

Neringa Vendelbo - 

Program Assistant:

Shannon Schooley -

Time & Place:

N7-B11  | Monday, Thursday 13:15-14:35  

Description of Course

Current environmental issues, climate change, global social injustice, and the impacts of these on ecosystems and societies have led us to radically rethink our current energy systems. It is necessary for us to understand how humanity became so dependent upon fossil fuels, and it is even more important for us to understand what other alternative energies exist. This class will examine the technical, economic, and political aspects of renewable energy, and students will learn about the successes and failures of implementing alternative energies at the local, national, and regional levels.

This class will focus on the Danish energy experience by exploring different renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, biofuel, etc.) and the strengths and weaknesses of different policy options (feed-in tariffs, quotas, etc.).

Learning Objectives of the Course 

By the end of this course you will be able to

  • To understand and explain the basics of energy systems

  • To analyze the complexities of the technological shift towards renewable energy systems

  • To create a critical perspective towards the analysis of energy systems

  • To develop a basis for the comprehension and analysis of energy plans

  • To form a working understanding of the available renewable energy alternatives

  • To evaluate the complexities of the implementation of renewable energy systems

  • To conduct a discourse analysis of the different stakeholders involved in energy politics

  • To carry out a policy analysis of energy systems


Carlos García-Robles, Cand.techn.soc. (Technological & Socio-Economic Planning, Roskilde University, 2009). B.A. (International Relations, National Autonomous University of Mexico, 2004). Represented Mexican NGOs during WSSD process, 2002. Member of the Energy and Climate Group, Project coordinator for Friends of the Earth Denmark for COP15 process. With DIS since 2011.


  • Boyle, Godfrey (2012 edition) Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future. Oxford.- to be picked up  during arrivals week

  • Lund, Henrik (2010) Renewable Energy Systems: The Choice and Modeling of 100% Renewable Solutions. Elsevier.- to be picked up from the library during arrivals week

  • Scheer, Hermann. 2nd edition (2005). A Solar Manifesto. Routledge.,

  • Kemp, William. 3 edition (2009). The Renewable Energy Handbook: The Updated Comprehensive Guide to Renewable Energy and Independent Living. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

  • Sheer, Hermann. The Solar Economy (1 September 2002) Earthscan / James & James.
  • Shaffer, Brenda. Energy Politics (10 February 2011Univ of Pennsylvania Pr.
  • International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2016.

Field Studies

Feb 27 8:30 AM Lynetten Wind Cooperative: We will climb a wind turbine and get to know the components and how it works in the field.

April 24 13:00 Changing the Game-Energy Game. An energy game played with Legos, the objective of the game is to create the EU energy mix for 2035.

Approach to Teaching

The course is taught as a mixture of lectures and discussions. Also, guest speakers and field studies are important parts of the learning process. The course heavily emphasizes your own engagement and active participation. Much of the learning in this course is dependent on how much effort you put into your own explorations and research, not least in connection with the different types of assignments.

Power points are not shared by the instructor. 


Expectations of the Students

  • Active and voluntary participation in class discussions

  • Having prepared properly for every class, i.e. doing all the required reading and research

  • Being able to address the readings critically during class, thus displaying a good understanding of the subject matter

  • Being analytical and concise in oral interventions, i.e. backing up arguments by facts and references rather than “feeling this or that” – Please note that monopolizing the floor with fluffy, unstructured and redundant monologues will NOT be seen as a positive contribution.




Test 1



Test 2









The course will be divided in two separate ways to be involved:


Basic Knowledge Students: These students will have the option of choosing the basic knowledge route. Details will be explained in class. Exams for Basic Knowledge Students contain short answer questions, the first exam has 30 questions, the second and final exam has 50 questions. You can find the study guides on "Assignments".

Advanced Participation Students: This route requires a high level of motivation, heavy reading and active participation in class and during the scheduled field studies.This will also include an alternative exam option and mind-map homework assignments.  Details will be explained in class.


Academic Regulations

Use of computers, iPhones, cell phones etc. in class: No laptops or smartphones are allowed in class. Use of devices will affect your participation grade negatively.

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Schedule is subject to change if necessary with as much notice as possible.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due