Renewable Energy

Course CodeVSS102
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study renewable energy - learn about environmentally sound energy production.

  • Learn to become less reliant on the electricity and gas companies and save money through alternative energy sources.
  • Develop your knowledge of electricity, batteries, how to become energy self sufficient.
  • Understand different methods of electricity generation.
  • Learn about storing electricity
  • Learn about energy consumption and conservation.
  • Learn about converting a building’s energy supply to an alternative system.

What is Alternative Energy?

Alternative energy is energy that is produced that is not harmful to the environment and does not lead to the depletion of the earth's natural resources. Such energy is derived from non-traditional, renewable sources (e.g. solar, wind) as opposed to fossil fuels that are not renewable . Renewable sources can be readily replaced or replenished, either by the earth's natural processes or by human action.

Energy for human activity is obtained from a variety of sources:

  • Fossil Fuels (i.e. oil, gas, and coal).
  • Nuclear Fuels (i.e. uranium, plutonium).
  • Renewable Fuels - geothermal, solar, water (tides, waves), wind power, and bio-fuels (such as firewood and fuel distilled from crops).
Learn more about energy and its uses in this fascinating and informative course.  A great course for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of alternative energy sources.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction: The Problems and the Energy Sources.
    • Scope and Nature
    • Terminology
    • Energy consumption through history
    • Climate Change
    • Energy units
    • Problems with Fossil Fuels
    • Problems with other energy sources ... hydro electricity, nuclear..
  2. Understanding Energy
    • Terminology
    • Understanding electricity
    • Conductors and non conductors
    • Measuring electricity ...current, voltage, resistance
    • Ohm's Law
    • Circuits ... Series; parallel
    • Kirchhoffs law
    • Power
    • Power ratings
    • Magnetism
    • Electromagnetism and Solenoids
    • Electric motors
    • Inductors
    • Lenz's law
  3. Generating Electricity
    • Turbines
    • Generators
    • Fuel cells
    • Wind Power
    • Large Scale Wind System Design
    • Small Scale Wind System Design
    • Solar Energy
    • Positioning a solar cell
    • Small Scale Solar
    • Future Developments in Solar
    • Geothermal Energy
    • Dry Steam Power Plants
    • Flash Steam Power Plants
    • Binary Cycle Power Plants
    • Advantages of Geothermal
    • How Geothermal is used
    • Geothermal heat pumps
    • Hydropower
    • Tide and Current Power
    • Tide Barrage
    • Tidal Turbines
    • Wave Power
    • Nuclear Energy
    • Fission Reactors
    • Fusion
    • Half Lives and Radioactivity
    • Waste to Energy
  4. Storage and Using Electricity
    • Terminology
    • Cells -simple cell, car battery, gel, AGM, Nickel etc.
    • Deep Cycle Battery
    • Lithium Rechargeable Batteries
    • Calculating Battery Requirements
    • Inverters
    • Converters
    • System Types
    • EMR and Electricity use
    • Recommended Exposure Limits
    • Safety with Electricity
  5. Non-Electric Systems
    • Scope and nature
    • Passive Solar
    • Fire Wood
    • Drying and storing wood
    • Comparing different wood types
    • Smoke fires
    • Creosote formation in fire flues
    • Environmental aspects of burning wood
    • Biofuels
    • Ethanol
    • Small scale Biomass
    • Passive Solar Energy
    • Solar hot water ... flat plat collectors, evacuated tubes, open or closed circuit, passive or active systems, heat pumps
    • Greenhouses
    • Night insulation
    • Solar Garden Water Features
  6. Energy Consumption
    • Reducing energy consumption
    • Pricing
    • Population growth
    • Large scale reduction of energy consumption -managing green cities, urban sprawl, peak demands, transport, etc.
  7. Energy Conservation
    • How a home owner can reduce energy consumption
    • Temperature control
    • Minimising light energy consumption
    • Minimising appliance energy consumption
    • Insulation
    • Solar house design
  8. Converting to Alternative Systems
    • Estimating Energy Needs
    • Building Efficiency
    • System Design
    • System Designers


  • Describe the nature and scope of alternative energy.
  • Describe the nature and application of electricity.
  • Compare different methods of generating electricity
  • Compare different techniques for storage and use of electricity.
  • Describe the application and operation of different non-electric energy systems.
  • Identify ways to better manage energy consumption.
  • Describe energy conservation techniques.
  • Discuss how to convert a building’s energy supply to an alternative system.

What You Will Do

  • List different insulating materials which may be commonly found inside electrical equipment.
  • Determine a practical example to show the relevance of each of Kirchoff's Laws to a technician, in their daily work.
  • Contact a number of suppliers of alternative energy generating systems (e.g. wind, solar).
  • Find out all that you can about the types of systems they supply. Collect any relevant leaflets and brochures. If possible observe such systems in action.
  • Design a floor plan and describe the current electricity use of a home which you are familiar with (but which uses only mains power supply). This might be the home of a friend, relative, or even your own home.
  • Recommend ways in which this home might reduce reliability on mains supply (either in part or full) by introducing its own electricity generation system.
  • Compare the relative significance of alternative sources of energy including wind, solar, fossil fuels, hydro, etc.
  • Explain electricity, including its nature, terminology and options for applying it as an energy source.
  • Explain the generation of electricity through a variety of means including: Photo voltaic cells, Wind powered generators, Petrol powered generators and Batteries.
  • Describe procedures for appropriate use of electricity, including storage and safety.
  • Develop ways of reducing energy consumption, including effective temperature control.
  • Evaluate a building and recommend appropriate measures for minimising it's consumption of energy.
  • Identify the restrictions or regulations which can affect the adoption of more appropriate energy applications for a specific property.
  • Plan the conversion of a property from high energy consumption systems to an appropriate network of sustainable and lower energy consumption systems.

Renewable Energy Sources Compared

The following information provides a quick comparison of renewable energy sources:




Cost of installing




Site Specific




Seasonal Variations


Very high


Running costs







Very little





Capital Cost




Source: Tourism Switched On - Sustainable Energy Technologies For The Australian Tourism Industries (1996), A guide prepared by Tourism Council Australia, World Travel & Tourism Environment Research Centre and the Office of National Tourism.

Our Students Say ...

"Many of the skills that I have learnt from this course help me on a day to day basis."

I think ACS provides a wonderful service. "

Study for the Future

As environmental pressures grow and people become more aware of the need to find sounder methods to live that rely less on using non-renewable resources the need for approaches such as Alternative Energy become ever greater.

  • Are you looking to become more self-sufficient?
  • Are you looking to work in an industry that harnesses natural, renewable energy sources to provide power?
  • Are you looking to make your own business more environmentally sound by conserving energy or converting to an alternative source of energy?

You can enrol on the Alternative Energy course at any time. You study when and where you want to, with the expert guidance of our specialist tutors. If you have any questions about the course get in touch with our highly knowledgeable tutors today - we have specialist tutors in Science, Permaculture and Horticulture who are extremely knowledgeable about using alternative systems for living.

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