Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Week 1: Introducing renewable energy


In this first week you will look at the environmental concerns that have caused the rise in interest in renewable energy. You will also explore the wide variety of renewable energy sources, along with some energy concepts and definitions to help you understand the subject.

You will investigate the Sun, which powers most of the renewable energy sources, then move on to discuss energy supply and demand, in the world and the UK, and then look briefly at the problem of climate change.

Current European and UK targets for increasing the share of renewables in coming decades will also be covered.

Download this video clip.Video player: week_1_introducing_re_640.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • explain the concept of sustainability and how this relates to energy systems and primary energy sources
  • understand the key role of the sun as the main source of renewable energy
  • understand the concepts of energy, power, the difference between them and the essential units used to describe them.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371