Master of Energy Systems
- CRICOS Code: 075124A
What will I study?
The Master of Energy Systems is a 1.5 years degree (full-time).
As a Master of Energy systems student, your focus will be on analysing energy systems from technical, commercial and policy standpoints, from generation of energy, storage and delivery. You will explore energy finance, economics, energy markets and the operation of renewable and non-renewable energy systems.
You will complete a 150 point program, including 100 points of core subjects and 50 points of electives.
With the following core subjects, you’ll build your foundational knowledge in energy and learn to analyse energy issues from both a technical and business perspective.
- Introduction to Energy Systems
- Analysing Energy Systems
- Electrical Power Systems
- Financial Management
- Non-Renewable Energy
- Renewable Energy
- Managerial Economics
- Energy Supply and Value Chains
Choose from a broad range of electives, including the Energy Systems Project and subjects from:
|Energy and sustainability||Energy, finance and policy||The business of energy||Energy and law|
Energy Systems Project
You could also choose to take the Energy Systems Project as an elective. In this subject, work onsite at an organisation over three months solving a real energy problem. You’ll undertake cross-disciplinary analysis and forge industry connections with energy companies, providers, distributors or market operators, or organisations specialising in alternative energy sources.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
Example 150 point plan
- Semester 1 50 pts
- Semester 2 50 pts
- Semester 1 50 pts
coreEnergy Supply and Value ChainsENGR90032
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
Students who have already completed a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering or equivalent may instead choose to take ELEN90074 Introduction to Power Engineering rather than ELEN90069 Electrical Power Systems, subject to approval from the ELEN90074 subject coordinator.
- Introduction to Energy Systems 12.5 pts
This subject provides a general introduction to the many issues that need to be considered when examining the global energy system.
These include -
- A brief history of different forms of energy and energy technologies
- The historical relationship between energy use and industrialisation
- The social, environmental and economic costs and benefits of different forms of energy and energy technology
- An introduction to energy resources and resource economics
- A brief review of the costs of different forms of energy
- Historical, current and projected energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutant emissions
- Opportunities for greenhouse gas mitigation.
- Analysing Energy Systems 12.5 pts
This subject forms one of the core units in the Masters of Energy Systems and the overall aims are to introduce the students to the tools and skills needed to analyse energy systems. To accomplish this overall aim, the subject introduces material and energy balances used in energy system calculations, and introduces and applies the Laws of Thermodynamics to simple energy systems.
This subject, together with ENGR90028 Introduction to Energy Systems, ENGR90030 Non-Renewable Energy, SCIE90014 Renewable Energy and ENGR90032 Energy Supply and Value Chains provide the core technical content for the Masters of Energy Systems.
The ability to analyse existing or new proposed energy systems is essential in assessing the merits and economics of our energy supply. This subject gives the students the opportunity to learn and apply these fundamental tools and skills with relevant and realistic energy systems.
- Thermodynamic properties
- Equations of state
- The conservation of energy in and around energy processing systems
- Evaluation of enthalpy changes with and without phase change
- Simplified energy balances for batch, steady-state and adiabatic systems
- Estimation of heats of combustion
- Simultaneous material and energy balances
- Entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Carnot’s principle
- Simple thermodynamic cycles
- Exercises in process optimisation and the solution of ill-defined process problems.
- Electrical Power Systems 12.5 pts
This subject provides an overview of electrical power systems for students without a significant background in Electrical Engineering. It will cover the basic elements of electrical power systems including generation, transmission and distribution.
Specific topics covered include:
- Electrical Network Basics: current, voltage, resistance, analysis of resistive circuits, capacitance, inductance, sinusoidal-steady state analysis;
- Power System Analysis: AC power, transformers, generators, loads, three-phase systems, power lines, power flow analysis, reliability and stability;
- Power System Operation: planning, scheduling, distributed generation, electricity markets, smart grid.
- Managerial Economics 12.5 pts
This subject provides an introduction to the fundamentals of microeconomics, strategy and key issues in macroeconomics, and applies this knowledge to business and management issues. Topics to be covered include: the working of competitive markets; the operation of business organisations such as cost management and pricing decisions; strategic behaviour and market outcomes in different market environments; the effect of public policy on business organisations; and the main macroeconomic influences on the business environment.
- Financial Management 12.5 pts
This subject is designed to equip students with the tools necessary to enable them to make the core decisions faced by managers and investors. The first part of the subject deals with establishing the environment in which organizations operate, namely the objectives of the suppliers of financial and human capital. The subject then considers the basic tools commonly employed by financial managers and investors including discounted cash flow techniques and financial mathematics. Measures and definitions of alternative forms of risk are considered and the relation between risk and expected reward in capital markets is established. Finally, the subject considers the important decisions faced by firms (such as investment, financing and dividend policy) and by investors (the composition of their optimal portfolio of stocks).
- Non-Renewable Energy 12.5 pts
This subject examines in detail the main forms of non-renewable energy and their uses, including:
- The composition and origin of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium
- The performance of coal, gas, liquid fuel and nuclear power generation
- The performance of power plants featuring steam turbines, gas turbines and reciprocating engines.
- Energy Supply and Value Chains 12.5 pts
This subject will examine the supply and value chains of the major forms of energy used globally. It will examine energy markets in detail, including
- Network delivery markets for electricity and natural gas;
- Discrete delivery markets for oil and its products, natural gas, coal and uranium;
- Integration of public policy considerations, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, other pollutant emissions, renewable energy incentives, installed capacity and essential service requirements;
- The relationship between financial markets and energy markets.
These topics will all carefully consider how physical and technical limitations impact market performance.
- Renewable Energy 12.5 pts
This subject examines the science, technology and policy instruments of a broad range of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind and water as well as other thermal renewables. Specifically, the subject covers:
- Solar: Overview of the fundamental physics of solar radiation; Technical details of photovoltaic cells and concentrating solar power systems
- Wind and water: Overview of the fundamental physics of motion involved in energy in wind & water; Technical details of wind turbines and hydro-power systems, including pumped Hydro-Energy Storage
- Other thermal renewables: Overview of the chemistry and technologies for biomass for heat and electricity and liquid biofuels
- Renewable integration and policy: Overview of renewable energy policy considerations; Understanding challenges of integration of renewables into power systems. This includes managing variability and the opportunities provided by storage and demand-side management.
Enrolment in LAWS70141 Energy Regulation and the Law is subject to approval from the Faculty of Law. ENGR90031 Energy Systems Project is only available to students who achieve an average mark of 75% or more in the preceding subjects in this degree.
- Solar Energy 12.5 pts
This subject provides the application of principles of solar energy engineering. A number of solar technologies and applications methods are investigated.
This subject uses a project based learning where students work in teams to design a solar system for a particular application considering environmental, social and financial constraints. Students learn to apply the principles of solar energy and design.
Knowledge gained in this subject will allow graduates to practice in the area of renewable energy industry. The subject complements other subjects offered in the energy theme of the Department such as Energy for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering.
- Introduction to Solar Energy in the energy economy; Fundamental heat & mass transfer; Radiation properties of materials; and selective surfaces
- Solar Geometry and solar angles; atmospheric effects and radiation prediction; and Solar radiation measurement
- Flat plate collectors design and performance characteristic
- Concentrating collectors design and performance characteristic; Evacuated tube collectors
- Solar System design methods
- Fundamentals of photovoltaic systems
- Solar process heating
- Solar drying, Solar cookers, Green houses and Solar stills
- Solar water pumping; Solar refrigeration
- Built environment applications passive and active systems
- Solar hot water and solar heat pump systems.
- Optimisation for Industry 12.5 pts
The use of mathematical optimisation is widespread in business, where it is a key analytical tool for managing and planning business operations. It is also required in many industrial processes and is useful to government and community organizations. This subject will expose students to operations research techniques as used in industry. A heavy emphasis will be placed on the modelling process that turns an industrial problem into a mathematical formulation. The focus will then be on how to solve the resulting mathematical problem with mixed-integer programming techniques.
- Climate Change Mitigation 12.5 pts
This subject will focus on the complex topic of climate change mitigation. Climate change mitigation includes actions we take globally, nationally and individually to limit changes in the global climate caused by human activities. Mitigation activities are designed to reduce greenhouse emissions and/or increase the amount of greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere by greenhouse sinks.
The subject will provide a critical and multidisciplinary overview of strategies for climate change mitigation but focuses on the technical feasibility and effectiveness of different mitigation options in the many different sectors that emit or sequester greenhouse gases. We will discuss in detail the emissions profiles and potentials for reducing emissions in energy systems, transport, buildings and industry, but we also include agriculture and land based systems and new breakthrough technologies. The subject will discuss the criteria and considerations for evaluating climate change mitigation, assess the feasibility in a technical and economic sense and the potential transformation pathways.
The strengths and weaknesses of mitigation strategies will be discussed in the context of national and international frameworks and economies. It will be demonstrated that climate change mitigation cannot be achieved by a single action but that multiple approaches may be necessary to achieve meaningful mitigation and that many societal sectors will be required to take action.
- Environmental Modelling 12.5 pts
Modelling is a fundamental component of Environmental Science, being used for prediction, monitoring, auditing, evaluation, and assessment. This subject introduces students to a wide range of models used by environmental scientists including models of climate change, population dynamics, pollution, hydrology, habitat and species distributions. Both deterministic and stochastic models are used as examples. The subject explains how to develop conceptual models that can then be quantified and analysed using mathematical and statistical methods. Topics covered include development of the basic model structure, estimation of parameters and calibration, methods of analysis, sensitivity analysis, model evaluation and model refinement. The subject teaches students how to simplify apparently complex problems.
- Construction Law 12.5 pts
This subject builds on the general legal principles and methodologies covered in earlier subjects. It is tailored to the need for construction professionals to have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role of law and its application to the industry.
Topics to be covered include: causes of action; contracting methodologies and selection (including traditional and alternative forms of contract); the regulatory framework (including security of payment legislation); legal aspects of time, cost and quality; subcontracting; insurance and performance security; and dispute resolution and avoidance.
- Business Analysis & Decision Making 12.5 pts
This subject introduces students to the different types of information that business analysts and decision makers gather, and how that information is processed to make effective business decisions. A wide range of strategic and operational business problems and decisions will be considered, from fields such as financial management, marketing, human resource management, supply chain management and international business. The subject explores how organisations gather and generate multiple forms of information, and how this information is analysed and converted into useful knowledge via individual judgement and organisational learning processes. In applying empirical and analytical approaches to practical situations, students will develop insights into both the nature of the business problems as well as methods that are used for identifying and evaluating alternative solutions. The subject content will include conceptual foundations, practical tools, and case studies to discuss the costs, benefits and risks of the various analytical methods that will be introduced.
- Energy Systems Project 25 pts
This subject involves students working individually on a particular project topic in agreement with an academic staff supervisor and, preferably, an external supervisor. The student will undertake a cross-disciplinary analysis of the agreed topic, spanning at least 2 of the technological, economic/financial and policy areas.
As part of the external supervision, it is preferred that the student spend time undertaking a placement at the external supervisor's organisation working on this project.
Students can undertake this project only if their average mark for the subjects previously undertaken in this degree is at least 75%, and can find a suitably qualified member of the University academic staff to supervise them.
- Adapting to Climate Change 12.5 pts
This subject focuses on climate change adaptation, and in particular its environmental, political, social and policy dimensions. It explores the ways which climate change poses risks to human wellbeing, and the ways these risks can be managed. It draws on examples from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular from the teaching staff’s concurrent research on climate change adaptation in small islands. The explains that adaptation and its success can be thought of and approached in multiple ways, shaped in part by existing interests and the varied and dynamic places in which adaptation is being consciously or unconsciously implemented. The subject also highlights that adaptation poses as well as addresses risks, and that decisions about adaptation need to be considered critically and iteratively. The subject is taught in an intensive mode. Topics include:
- Issues of complexity, uncertainty, knowledge, power, and practice in researching and implementing climate change
- The relationship between adaptation and other processes of change, including development
- Strategies for change at global, regional, local and individual scales, their inter-relations and how they may be facilitated.
- Energy Regulation and the Law 12.5 pts
Adequate, reliable and sustainable supplies of energy are crucial to modern societies, and their assurance demands the close and continuous involvement of governments. This subject explains the challenges—affordability, security of supply, safety, control of monopoly, sustainability in an age of global warming—that the economic and technical characteristics of different energy sources present to governments in Australia, and analyses the regulatory tools that they have at their disposal for responding to such challenges. It shows how the law can function both as an essential vehicle for such regulation and as a constraint on its content. The lecturer is a leading international authority on oil and gas law and has published extensively in the field of regulation.
Principal topics include:
- The nature of regulation, its development in Australia and its relationship with law
- General explanations and justifications for regulation
- The techniques of regulation
- Regulatory issues posed by the supply of different types of energy:
- Mineral energies: coal, petroleum and uranium
- Network energies: electricity, gas
- Renewable energies
- The Australian federal environment for energy regulation. Two or more case studies of Australian energy regulation:
- Electricity and gas: from state monopolies to regulated national markets
- Mined energies: securing effective exploitation, managing resource conflicts
- Renewable energies: regulatory incentives
- Cross-cutting issues in energy regulation:
- Regulatory authorities
- Forms of regulation: prescription versus goal-based regulation; discretion versus rules; legislation versus contract
- Regulatory review and evaluation.
- Sustainable Buildings 12.5 pts
This subject provides a multi-disciplinary overview of the design of sustainable buildings and considers the design from an architectural, services engineering, facade engineering, environmental engineering and structural engineering, tenants and owners perspective. A number of industry based case study examples will be introduced to complement the lectures.
This subject uses a project based learning project where students work in teams to design a new or refurbished commercial building to improve the environmental and social performance of the building. Students learn to apply sustainability-rating tools used in industry to their solutions.
Students in the subject come from different disciplinary backgrounds, principally engineering and architecture, and are expected to share their knowledge and learn from each other to successfully complete the project work. This stands them in good stead for entering professional practice in the area of sustainability.
Topics include: ecological sustainable design, life cycle analysis, planning for sustainable buildings and cities, regulatory environment, barriers to green buildings, green building rating tools, material selection, embodied energy, operating energy, indoor environmental quality (noise, light and air), facade systems, ventilation systems, transportation, water treatment systems, water efficiency, building economics, and staff productivity. These will be covered in the following thematic areas:
- Sustainable Cities
- Sustainable Precincts
- Building Envelope
- Building services - Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
- Building services - Energy
- Building Services - water
- Existing Buildings
- Green Building Rating Tools
- ESD Drivers and Barriers
- ESD Economics
- the process of a green building - 60L CH2
- Business Perspective
- Case Studies.
- Sustainability Reporting & Management 12.5 pts
Diverse stakeholders are increasingly demanding information about the broader social and environmental dimensions of organizational performance. Incorporating this information into decision-making is complex because it tends to be non-financial in nature and traditional models tend to focus on financial information. This course will investigate issues associated with production, reporting, and use of sustainability related information for decision-making. At a broader level, the course will help students to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills to help them apply their knowledge to settings where extant models do not fit well.
- Climate Change Politics and Policy 12.5 pts
This subject introduces and analyses critical concepts and terms central to debates over climate change, including risk and uncertainty, adaptation and mitigation, burden sharing, and problems and issues relating to regimes, strategies and policy instruments for addressing global warming. The subject considers the rise of climate change as a policy problem. It reviews and analyses the history of climate change policy as it has evolved nationally and internationally. It examines the interactions between national and regional climate policy, including in Australia, the United States, the European Union and China. It analyses debates and concerns that have led to the evolution of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and more recent arrangements. Students will consider a range of policy instruments, including carbon taxes and emissions trading, and technologies that have been proposed or deployed to address this issue. This subject enables students to understand the evolution of a critical global environmental issue. It offers insights into technical, political, ethical and ecological issues that have framed climate change policy, particularly since 1992, and enables students to think critically about and participate in developing policy in this domain.
- Environmental Policy Instruments 12.5 pts
The subject focuses on the development and critical assessment of a range of past, current and proposed environmental policies in Australia, Europe, the US and other parts of the world. The subject covers a range of topics including energy, transport, biodiversity loss, fisheries management, rural and urban water use, air pollution, and climate change. Policy instruments covered in class include taxes, rebates, fees, permit trading, bans, informational policies, and legal instruments. Real-world issues and real-world policy responses are compared and discussed. The subject equips students with a set of economic principles and decision-framework that can help develop arguments for or against environmental policies. Students will learn about innovative policy solutions as well as policies with potential pitfalls and unintended consequences.
- Climate Modelling and Climate Change 12.5 pts
This subject describes the physics of the climate system, and how the system is represented in numerical models.
Key aspects include:
- Radiation balance and heat balance of the earth
- Carbon dioxide, water vapour and other Greenhouse Gas absorption spectra
- Other key climate drivers including solar variability, aerosols and clouds
- The global carbon cycle and the modelling of other greenhouse gases
- Impacts of climate change including sea level rise and extreme events
It covers aspects of uncertainty and chaos to understand why climate models are imperfect but invaluable tools. Students will build a simple climate model and run numerical experiments with different greenhouse gases. Existing knowledge in python programming is recommended but can be acquired throughout the course. The subject will also briefly discuss the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The 12 lectures cover the following themes: 1. Introduction; 2. Radiative forcing; 3. Climate feedbacks; 4. Carbon & gas cycles; 5. Oceans & sea level rise; 6. Aerosols & Clouds; 7. Variability and El Nino*; 8. Water Cycle and Extremes; 9. Ensemble & probabilistic projections, D&A; 10. Scenarios, carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management; 11. Climate Targets, carbon budgets and the Paris Agreement*; 12. Wrap Up
The lectures are accompanied with weekly exercises that provide students with hands-on conceptual learning, modelling and data analysis experience.
- Transport Systems 12.5 pts
The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to urban traffic engineering and transport planning principles. General theory as well as analytical techniques for solving common transport engineering problems is presented.
The key theme in this course is how to improve the sustainability of transport systems. This includes understanding and predicting travel demand. This course emphasizes techniques for modelling and evaluating schemes based on environmental, health and social outcomes. Behavioural choice modelling methods are used to predict demand for public transport and non-motorised transport modes.
CVEN90048 Transport Systems provides a transport-specific learning experience that relates to, builds-on, and extends from the skills and competencies developed via the following Civil Engineering subjects: CVEN90043 Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering and CVEN90045 Engineering Project Implementation.
Topics covered include:
- Introduction to Transport Systems
- Traffic Flow Theory
- Traffic Control Devices
- Unsignalised Intersection Capacity Analysis
- Travel Surveys
- Traffic Survey Methods
- Public Transport
- Transport Network Models
- Road Safety
- Signalised Intersection Capacity and Timing
- Freeway Management
- Geometric Design of Roads
This subject has been integrated with the Skills Towards Employment Program (STEP) and contains activities that can assist in the completion of the Engineering Practice Hurdle (EPH).
- Engineering Contracts and Procurement 12.5 pts
In this subject students will learn how to structure and work with engineering contracts to deliver and procure engineering outcomes. Students will develop a working knowledge of contract administration and gain an understanding of commercial out workings of engineering. All engineers interface commercially with engineering contracts throughout their careers and thus the application of the subject content is broad. Those seeking to work as a contractor and as a contract administrator will find direct application of this subject’s content.
Commercial management of engineering projects including the role and responsibilities of corporate managers, market analysis, structuring of procurement options, development of contractual terms and conditions, and the pricing of work.
Estimating and tendering engineering works via work breakdown structures, work method statements, risk identification and tendering principles. Contract administration and project control functions and techniques including time and money negotiations and cash flow management are also covered through the use of detailed case study material.