Course description

This course package will be delivered entirely through distance online education. The course will provide in-depth knowledge of energy options within the context of sustainable development. The course is designed to be intensive and will consist of a Foundation Session: Understanding Energy for Sustainable Development and an Advanced Session: Responding to Key Energy for Sustainable Development Challenges. Completion of both sessions will require in total an average of 100 hours of effort, spread over 10 weeks.

Foundation Session: Understanding Energy for Sustainable Development

The 6-week duration Foundation Session is designed to serve as a comprehensive introduction to a range of key energy for sustainable development issues. These include the linkages between the provision of energy services and poverty, economic development, health, security and the environment. The topics selected for coverage will allow development specialists to get a first-hand yet in-depth view of key challenges associated with implementing energy for sustainable development in a variety of development related contexts.

The session’s scope and content is intended to promote deeper understanding of the following issues:

  • Linkages between energy, social and development issues such as poverty, gender, urbanization, health, livelihoods and economic development.
  • Energy security
  • Sustainable management and use of energy resources and energy technologies including renewable energy technologies and advanced energy technologies
  • Energy concerns in developing countries including rural energy, and
  • Enabling frameworks and policies that promote energy for sustainable development.

The training materials compiled within this course are part of the outreach activities of the World Energy Assessment: Energy and the Challenge of Sustainability (WEA). They are built directly upon the Training Materials on Energy for Sustainable Development: World Energy Assessment Outreach Modules that were developed to disseminate the findings of the WEA. The Foundation Session is structured into three sections with four modules each:

Section I – Energy for Sustainable Development

I-1 Energy and Social IssuesI-2 Energy, the Environment and HealthI-3 Energy and Economic IssuesI-4 Energy Security

Section II – Energy Resources and Technologies

II-1 Energy ResourcesII-2 Energy End-Use EfficiencyII-3 Renewable Energy TechnologiesII-4 Advanced Energy Supply Technologies

Section III – Enabling Frameworks and Policies for Sustainable Energy

III-1 Energy ScenariosIII-2 Rural EnergyIII-3 Reshaping Markets and Building CapacityIII-4 Key Policy Areas for Sustainable Development

The Foundation Session will involve inter aliaa range of readings, quizzes and self assessment, written assignments, and participation in online discussion forums facilitated by international energy and development experts. Feedback for assignments will be supplied on an individual basis.

Successful completion of the Foundation Session will lead to a formal European university level certification corresponding to 3 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits.

Advanced Session: Responding to Key Energy for Sustainable Development Challenges

In a rapidly changing global environment, professionals at multilateral, bilateral, and non-governmental institutions and businesses have to embrace new ways of thinking and approaches to remain relevant whilst addressing current global challenges. The principal objective of the 4-week Advanced Session is to provide a forum for “energized debate and discussion” that will enable the adoption of innovative and new approaches as well as strengthen capabilities to address global challenges.

Participants will be provided a forum to engage with and respond to a set of four globally relevant and highly topical challenges related to energy for sustainable development. The four topics selected for global discussion in the most recent Advanced Session in October/November 2007 were:

1. Energy security and climate change policies in developing countries.

2. Energy diversification by biofuel programs in developing countries.

3. Energy for the promotion of entrepreneurship among rural women.

4. Contribution to sustainability and MDGs of renewables: a vision from developing countries.

The 4-week duration Advanced Session is not designed to focus on technical issues related to specific energy systems but is geared towards deepening and broadening a global understanding of new and critical macro-level challenges, policy priorities and strategies. The session will be structured to allow for interactive yet systematic debate/discussion of strategies and options from interdisciplinary viewpoints. Accordingly it allows for interested development specialists to engage, at a deeper level,  in addressing critical and current economic, environmental, socio-political as well as technological challenges related to energy for development issues. This includes global concerns ranging from global climate change to the impacts of globalization.

This session seeks to bring together senior staff from a range of institutions and agencies to discuss current global themes and challenges related to energy for sustainable development. It also aims to generate brainstorming of potential and feasible responses and actions. It is anticipated that interested participants can return every year to engage with new interactive debates and discussions since each session will take up new issues of current policy relevance and global significance.

The primary instructional aim of the Advanced Session is to promote active dialogue, exchange of ideas and options and creative problem-solving aimed at addressing and responding to key challenges that affect the global, regional and national objectives related to energy for sustainable development.

The interactive platform will be hosted by Lund University (in Sweden) and will be serviced by a specially designed online course platform that will provide the four selected global challenges/questions. Participants’ responses to the targeted discussion groups will be reviewed by designated experts responsible for moderating the discussion groups and providing specific feedback to individual participants. There will be no required reading assignments but participants will have online access to a list of suggested readings that can advance their responses to the selected discussion groups.

UNDP, IIIEE, the IEA and other centres of excellence participating in the UNEP-facilitated Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD) will serve as primary partners engaged in facilitating the online discussions groups and in providing detailed feedback.

Successful completion of the Advanced Session will lead to a formal European university level certification corresponding to 2 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits.