Course: Politics for the Sustainable Society credits: 5

Course code
Politics for the Sustainable Society
Study year
ECTS credits
W.P. van der Gaast
Modes of delivery
  • Tutorial
  • Politics for the Sustainable Society - Assignment

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes for the Module Overview (5 EC) are:
  • Students will be able to identify and prioritize (technology) solutions for sustainable, low-emission energy systems considering countries’ societal, economic and environmental strategies.
  • Students will have a clear understanding of energy system dynamics, including the concept of Multilevel perspective (‘landscape’, ‘niches’ and ‘regime’).
  • Students will become acquainted with knowledge of international, EU and national energy and climate politics and the interplay between these policy making levels.
  • Students will understand the interactions between energy and climate policy instruments and what factors determine these.
  • Students will be able to assess climate resilience of sustainable energy solutions considering climate-proofing of these solutions.
  • Students will improve their skills for writing a scientific paper.


This module provides the students with an overview of the challenges of the energy transition with respect to the increasing use of renewables in the energy system, the reduction of energy use and the reduction of CO-eq. emissions. These challenges will be addressed with help of transition theories such as multilevel perspective in order to clearly describe the role of politics in societal transitions towards low-/zero-emission energy systems. Students will understand that energy transition is an approach that must lead to energy systems which are increasingly dependent on (integration of) low- or zero emission energy sources (e.g., wind, solar, biomass, hydro, carbon capture and storage) in combination with a more efficient use of energy. The transition process itself depends on a range of aspects such as scientific insights, public opinions, climate change impacts already taking place, new solutions being developed by innovators in niche markets, as well as the vested interests in conventional, fossil fuel-based energy systems. The success of transition depends on the ability to integrate all these aspects into a coherent political package that is acceptable for society. Students will be acquainted with examples and viable approaches for successful transition politics.

Politics for the sustainable society will be addressed at the global (e.g. UN climate policies), EU (e.g. Directives, Green Deal, Fit for 55) and national levels.

Included in programme(s)


  • Institute of Engineering