AE-343 Arctic Renewable Energy Infrastructure: Construction and Operation (10 ECTS)






April 15, 2024


November 04, 2024


December 13, 2024


Autumn semester (Block 7: week 45-50)

Students investigating the new solar panels at Linken. Field visit for AGF-353. Photo: Lars Henrik Smedsrud/UNIS

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:TBA
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/25 students
Credit reduction / overlap:10 ECTS with AE-843
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

Course requirements

Enrolment in a relevant master programme.

Academic content

The course is intended for students with interests and background in Environmental/Energy engineering, Applied mathematics, Applied physics, Mechanics, Structural engineering (dynamics), Meteorology, or a related subject directly relevant. Renewable energy is a prioritised theme in Svalbard and globally due to the goal to reduce the current dependency on fossil fuels. Several Svalbard companies are shifting to more environmentally friendly alternatives and construction of these systems in the Arctic poses unique logistical and technical challenges due to the extreme Arctic environment, which includes snow, ice and permafrost, but also the isolation and remoteness. Of particular importance is how the Arctic climatic conditions influence the constructions when building, operating and maintaining the systems. Smart grids, off-grid systems and how to incorporate renewable energy in existing grids is also vital for Arctic renewable energy systems.

Specific topics:

  • Introduction to construction of renewable energy systems in the Arctic
  • How solar panels and wind turbines respond to icing and snowdrift
  • Constructions in low temperatures
  • How to build renewable energy systems on permafrost
  • The use of smart grids in the Arctic
  • Off-grid systems
  • Particular challenges for off-shore energy systems

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the students will:


  • know and understand the basic requirements and limitations for building, operating, and maintaining safe and cost-effective renewable energy systems in the Arctic.
  • have an understanding how the Arctic climate affects the renewable energy systems and what makes that unique.
  • have an understanding of how renewable energy systems in the Arctic can be used in smart grids, off-grid systems and challenges of incorporating them in existing energy grids.


  • be able to identify the challenges of building, maintaining and operating renewable energy at specific sites in the Arctic.
  • be able to mitigate climatic impact on constructions of renewable energy in the Arctic.
  • be able to control small scale smart grids as well as off-grid systems.

General competences

  • perform field experiments operations, collect data using scientific instruments, and process data
  • communicate research results orally and in writing
  • read and critically discuss scientific literature
  • be prepared at an advanced level, for future positions within research on renewable energy in the Arctic research, or the industry.

Learning activities

The course extends over 5-6 weeks, and will run in combination with AE-843.

Learning activities consist of lectures, seminars, field excursions, fieldwork, assignments, and project works in groups.

The lectures outline the theoretical aspects of building, operating and maintaining renewable energy systems in the Arctic, while the field excursions and field work will give hands-on experience of Arctic possibilities and constraints. Scientific literature and results from project works will be discussed in seminars. 


  • Lectures: 35 hours
  • Seminars (students active): 10 hours
  • Exercise hours: 10 hours
  • Field work (students active): 40 hours
  • Work on field/lab logs, reports, assignments during course period at UNIS: 60 hours
  • Self-study and preparations: approx. 100 hours

Compulsory learning activities

Seminars, assignments, fieldwork, presentations.

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


MethodDurationPercentage of final grade
Group project report (written and oral)25%
Oral exam75%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Each assessment is graded and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.