• Length:
    14 Weeks
  • Effort:
    10–12 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $375 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
  • Language:
  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule

Associated Programs:


  • Ability to perform simple mathematical operations.
  • Advanced English language skills.

About this course

Skip About this course

This course addresses the important global issue of transitioning to a sustainable energy future.

The course covers: basic energy concepts and terms; energy systems; the challenge of fossil-fuel greenhouse gas emissions from power generation; and describes and evaluates a range of renewable energy technologies. Renewable energy technologies analysed include: bioenergy, geothermal, solar, wind power, hydropower and ocean power.

This course is part of the Sustainable Energy MicroMasters series. You may take the course as a single course or complete all four courses in the series.

There are two enrolment options: verified enrolment and audit enrolment.We recommend that you enrol in the Audit enrolment track first. If you wish to complete the assessment tasks with the aim to achieve at least 70% in the final grade and a course certificate, you must upgrade to the Verified enrolment track and pay the Verified enrolment fee within the first five weeks from when the course opened. If you enrol as a verified learner and successfully complete all four courses you will qualify for the Sustainable Energy MicroMasters credential.

A Sustainable Energy MicroMasters credential is worthwhile in itself, but, if you wish to continue your studies, the Sustainable Energy MicroMasters credential could be used towards studying the Master of Sustainable Energy at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Learners who choose to enrol as verified and pay the enrolment fee, will be required to write an assignment, and achieve an overall passing grade of 70% or above in order to receive the downloadable verified certificate.

The final examination is timed and has a weight of 30%. The written paper has a weight of 50%, is submitted to Turnitin, a text-matching software, and is instructor-marked.

If you enrol in the audit track, you will have access to all the videos and other resources while the course is open, but you will not have access to the graded assessment tasks. In addition, audit participants will not be eligible to receive a course certificate upon completion of the course.

Both enrolment tracks are valuable. However, if you decide to enrol in the Verified enrolment track, please ensure you will be able to write a Masters level paper.

Plagiarism and cheating, including (i) copying and pasting text from other sources and (ii) using information from other sources without full and compliant referencing, will result in a grade of zero.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The language of energy
  • The challenges involved in providing sustainable energy supply
  • Key scientific principles that underpin energy systems
  • The basics of a number of available renewable energy options
  • The role of energy storage

Background:Energy Literacy
An introduction to the language of energy aimed at those without an engineering or science background, to allow learners to engage with the material that follows.
Topic 1: The Challenge
This topic describes some of the challenges we face in creating sustainable energy systems given the world's increasing demand for energy and the threat posed by climate change.
Topic 2: Energy systems
We will introduce learners to some of the fundamental science that governs energy systems and energy transformation.
Topic 3: Bioenergy
This topic describes the uses of Bioenergy, carbon footprint, global uptake and future possibilities.
Topic 4: Geothermal
This topic describes the uses of geothermal energy, carbon footprint, global uptake and future possibilities.
Topic 5: Solar
This topic investigates the different types of solar energy and then describes how solar energy can be used, its carbon footprint, global uptake and future possibilities.
Topic 6: Wind power
This topic describes how energy from the wind can be used, its carbon footprint, global uptake and future possibilities.
Topic 7: Hydropower
This topic focuses on how hydropower is used to create energy, how this energy can be used, its carbon footprint, global uptake and future possibilities.
Topic 8: Ocean power
This topic describes how energy can be extracted from the ocean's waves and tides, how this energy can be used, its carbon footprint, how much is used around the world and its future possibilities.
Topic 9: Energy storage
This topic introduces learners to the ways energy can be stored, the characteristics of an energy storage system and the possible uses of an energy storage system.
Topic 10: Electricity management
In electricity management learners will be introduced to how electricity markets work, transmission and distribution concepts and the requirement for balancing the grid.

Meet your instructors

Simon Smart
Senior Research Fellow, Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation
The University of Queensland

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Learner testimonials

The way the course was taught and the way I engaged with it has provided me with more knowledge and more importantly, it has motivated me to continue with the lifelong learning process about energy. Hopefully, I will find myself applying the knowledge I've gathered in the Sustainable Energy MicroMasters program in the search for solutions to our wicked energy problem. Previous student

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.