Teaching in Energy Systems Engineering

I have taught into Mechanical Engineering in the subjects of Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics, and I have developed and run an industry-sponsored Final Year Projects programme that teaches the communication and project management soft skills. 

I taught the final year elective, Energy Systems Engineering for 20 years. Energy Engineering has been one of the most popular electives. I organised weekend field trips into the amazing New Zealand wilderness. If you are one of the many Energy Alumni, connect with me on Linkedin and let me know how your energy journey is going. 




Teaching Energy Transition Engineering

I have developed and taught Energy Transition Engineering at Canterbury University in New Zealand, Munich Germany and Grenoble France, and now at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. I wrote the textbook for Transition Engineering which was published in 2020, and which came out of chapters I wrote for Frank Kreith's book Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems. 

 Ground-Breaking Book on HOW  to achieve the climate safe targets.

There are currently on-line self-paced courses on Transition Engineering and Energy Transition Engineering available from Canterbury University, and a Masers on-line at HWU. 


Masters in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition

Study in person or On-Line from anywhere in the world

Introduction Video

The MSc in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition (A14R-SET) is delivered by academics at our ORKNEY CAMPUS or remotely through the Heriot-Watt On-Line.  The MSc is valuable for professionals from a range of related disciplines. The MSc course has been designed to teach the principles, methods and tools around the key drivers of energy transition:

  • Policy and Economics
  • Renewable Technology and Energy Delivery Systems
  • Energy End Use and Benefits to Society
  • The Environmental and Resource Issues of Unsustainable Energy
  • Transition Engineering

The programme specifically addresses these key drivers of energy transition as they are found in every location around the world.

The course aims to give graduates cross-cutting skills in the renewables sector, and tools and methods to deliver transition to net zero across all sectors. The course introduces the very latest approaches for working with multidisciplinary stakeholders, and proven methodology and tools for energy transition for professionals across disciplines. The course addresses the needs of renewable energy developers as they seek to maximise economic benefits whilst grappling with challenges of overcoming regulatory and environmental issues, working within the values of local communities and securing finance.

Teaching is reinforced with project work where emphasis is placed on simulating real working situations, and discussing the complex aspects of energy transition projects in a number of global regions.

The course maintains strong links with industry and regulators involved in the sector to ensure its relevance to the demands of energy transition in electricity, heat, transport, buildings, and infrastructure.

Programme Name MSc Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition (ReSET)
Delivery Full-time (1 yr)  or Part-time
Course Type Taught, Lab and Research
Location Orkney or Fully On-Line
Entry Date Apply by Aug for Sept start of the 1 Yr MSc, or anytime On-Line
Full-Time MSc Tuition Fee (UK Resident) £8,320
Full-Time MSc Tuition Fee (International) £17,320
Online MSc Tuition Fee £1,200 per course
Scholarships Course Costs

If you study at our Orkney Campus, you will benefit from a number of activities including guest lectures and practical sessions which help to develop your skills and knowledge in your field of study, and offer opportunities to meet developers and others involved in the renewable energy industry. You will also be able to participate in Transition Engineering Labs associated with the Islands Centre for Net Zero. 

Financial support

Tuition fee loans of £5,500 are available to Scottish distance learning students on taught postgraduate courses. Full-time distance learning postgraduate students can also access a £4,500 living cost loan. Find out more from the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)


This MSc course can be studied full-time over the course of 12 months at the Orkney Campus. Alternatively, you can study via On-Line Learning from anywhere in the world, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family. You can take one or more classes and receive Certificates, take the 8 courses without the dissertation and earn a Diploma. 

Electives: D11CA Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation, A11EN Environmental Processes, A11OC Oceanography


Professor Susan Krumdieck Chair in Energy Transition Engineering: Transition Engineering and Energy Systems Engineering Profile
Professor Eddie Owens Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems: Energy Systems and Energy Transition Profile
Associate Professor Sandy Kerr Director, ICIT Orkney, Energy Economics, Finance and Policy Profile

Assistant Professor Simon Waldman

Energy and Environment Modelling, Renewable Energy Technology


Associate Professor David Woolf

Marine Renewable Energy, Regional Climate Change and Impacts, Global Carbon cycle Profile


ICNZ Research Dissertation Scholarship

The MSc ReSET programme is taught in person over the course of an academic year at the HWU Orkney campus in Stromness. Students who are accepted to the programme are invited to apply for the ICNZ Transition Engineering Scholarship. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, the student must enrol in the 1-year in-person programme in Orkney. The student must also work with the ICNZ research group to define a Transition Engineering project for their A11ET Energy Transition Lab, and subsequently further explore the topic for their Dissertation. Applicants should send a CV with academic and employment history, plus a statement of interest (500 words) in one of the topics listed below to the ICNZ Transition Lab Research Director, Professor Susan Krumdieck s.krumdieck@hw.ac.uk and selections and notifications will be made by 15 August. The available projects have post-doctor or PhD student mentors and collaborators.

The value of the scholarship is £2000

Transition Engineering Research Dissertation Topics for 2023/24

  • Energy for Residential Essential Needs: Design and model a utility rate structure for a public good supply circuit in homes to test out the idea of ending energy poverty by providing a 5kW max circuit for essential loads at affordable fixed charge per month. Knowledge of electric utilities, regulations, electricity markets or household energy end use would be helpful. Skills Developed: Asset Forward Planning, regulation and rate structures. Mentor: Dr. Paolo Cherubini
  • Net Zero SchoolRun Certification: Imagine that 150 schools take on the NZSR learning and action programme (developed with our Transition Lab group and a local school), build their school rules and achieve the Net Zero goal (80% of school travel is zero carbon, and the school community has offsetting nature regeneration projects) how would their net zero certification be achieved? Knowledge of transport engineering, GIS, or data acquisition and analysis would be helpful. Mentor: PhD student Florian Ahrens, local school teacher, Aquatera
  • The BigDO: Develop a VenSim dynamic systems model of a SIM Upstream Oil Co. to investigate the logistics and implications of production slow-down and the economics of alternative path investments. Knowledge of oil production industry would be helpful. Mentor: PhD student Jack Boulton
  • Fuel Risk and Resilience: Islands communities rely on petroleum based fuel for primary production, manufacture, freight and personal transport. Island and rural communities are the most vulnerable to fuel supply disruption and price shocks. In this project, the companies that provide fuel will be engaged and a novel retail management system will undergo concept generation and design investigation. Knowledge of transport engineering or online booking systems would be helpful.
  • Sustainable Fishing for a Living: Fishing villages are disappearing – well at least the fishermen are disappearing. This project works with the available data and with the fishing professionals in Orkney to design a digital asset that could help to shore up the prospects for sustainable fishing for a living. Knowledge of fishing industry and digital human interface would be helpful. Mentor: PhD student Meng Wu
  • A Place to Call Home: The market, finance, policy, land use planning, construction and consent system is responsible for the housing affordability crisis across most of the world. This project explores a Transition Engineering solution that involves self-organising theory and other innovations… which could undo the mess we are in. Knowledge of land use and GIS would be helpful. Mentor: PhD student Meg Bartholomew
  • Our Daily Bread: Food is a fundamental requirement for wellbeing. Our western societies are awash in food, so much so that obesity is a massive problem. But doesn’t all that food require use of fossil fuel? This project looks at the resilience of a local food supply and the way to understand the risks of the food freight supply chain, especially in lifeline communities like islands. Knowledge of freight, logistics, operations research and surveying methods could be helpful.
  • Employer Accommodation: A previous Transition Engineering MSc dissertation developed an innovative concept for how to achieve the energy and health retrofits that are needed in the next decade for homes in the UK. Take this concept and develop it to the next level. The concept is a scheme for employer cooperatives that own rental accommodation within active access of their premises. This is the one case where it would be in the building owner’s interest to have low energy costs, healthy living conditions and low rent costs for their tenants, so it could be a solution for working people. Knowledge of property, building energy systems, retrofitting, policy or finance would be useful.
  • Getting Stuff Around: This project is a modelling exploration of a forward operating environment for floating wind. Can you build simple toy models of wind farms in the North Sea, and an electrified version of the national rail network to see what would happen? Power engineering and electric rail background would be helpful.
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