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Energy and development

P232

This module explores the main issues around energy and development.

As 1.3 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass for basic needs such as cooking and heating (World Bank, 2014), access to energy is a key development issue as recognised by the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, energy use is closely intertwined with environmental challenges such as climate change, fossil fuel resource depletion and air pollution.

This module elaborates the key issues and concepts in the field of energy and development; it addresses policy responses such as the energy issues goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN’s target of universal energy access. The module further outlines various options for delivering energy access (both low carbon and fossil fuel-based), and their environmental, socio-economic and technological implications and how this links to contemporary global challenges in the fields of climate change, environmental management and sustainable development.

Topics covered

  • Part 1 Energy, poverty and development: the challenges:
  • Energy use and energy systems in different countries and contexts
  • Energy transitions: From traditional biomass to fossil fuels to renewable energy
  • Sectoral energy needs and household energy
  • Part 2 Concepts of energy and development:
  • The health and social implications of energy use
  • Energy use and climate change
  • Natural resource depletion and air pollution
  • Part 3 The energy-poverty-climate nexus:
  • Technological advances: fossil fuels, energy efficiency and low carbon energy
  • The economics of energy supply and universal energy access
  • Financing a low carbon energy transition
  • Policy responses to energy poverty.

Learning outcomes

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the links and recognise inter-dependencies between energy and development, as well as between energy and poverty.
  • Critically discuss the key issues and concepts in the field of energy and development from a theoretical and practical perspective.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how energy production and energy use contribute to environmental challenges such as global climate change, peak oil, natural resource depletion and air pollution.
  • Critically discuss various options for delivering energy access (both low carbon and fossil fuel-based), and their environmental, socio-economic and technological implications.
  • Be familiar with and interpret national and international policy responses to energy poverty.

Assessment

  • a two-hour written examination worth 50%
  • a 3000-word examined assignment worth 40%
  • seminar participation worth 10%.

Essential reading

  • Goldemberg, J. and Lucon, O., 2009. Energy, Environment and Development. 2nd edition. Earthscan, Routledge, Oxon.