This paper aims to report on a case study concerning the development of sustainable energy partnerships involving engineering faculty and undergraduate students at the…
This paper aims to report on a case study concerning the development of sustainable energy partnerships involving engineering faculty and undergraduate students at the University of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.
Faculty were motivated to seek partnerships with public and private entities in the local area for the purposes of realising mutually beneficial outcomes. The educational programmes of future engineers, when sustainability is considered, are analysed. Education for sustainable development has to include multidisciplinary active learning as a desirable competence. Active learning can be obtained when problems are based on real life because they are most motivating for students. Constructive alignment component is obtained because learning objectives are linked with learning activities related to the needs of public and private entities.
Through the provision of technical expertise, the adoption and success of renewable energy projects was facilitated on the one hand, while final year undergraduate students benefited in terms of hands-on experience in helping to bring these projects to life, drawing on the knowledge and skills they had acquired throughout their degree programmes. These works are addressed to students by faculty members with the aim of developing and promoting renewable energies. Outcomes from partnerships surpassed expectations; not only were different benefits realised as were initially hoped for, but this success led to partnerships being sustained over time.
Fossil fuel-based energy systems are associated with a myriad of negative environmental and social externalities. It is difficult to overstate the importance of transitioning towards alternative low carbon energy sources for climate change mitigation which are less centralised compared to the status-quo for energy security and energy independence. By actively facilitating the development of decentralised renewable energy sources in Catalonia, the projects reported herein are of significant value in social environmental and educational terms.