Monday – Mittweida
The first item on the agenda is Electric Engineering. This is neither a lecture nor a lesson, but a practical. Have you ever set up a two-way connection i.e. a lamp with two switches so that you can turn the light on and off with either switch? I hadn’t, and I’m really not at all gifted at working with my hands or doing anything hands-on. The practical part of Electric Engineering is quite irregular, but attendance at the course itself is compulsory, unlike most other events at university. We basically do a couple of “real life equivalents” to our usual theoretical lessons. For instance, in another lesson we learnt and practiced using soldering techniques. I actually had a lot of fun working with metal; it is a little exhausting for people like me (I might not be super athletic), but everything you do in there just feels really rewarding when you’re done.
Time for the regular Monday courses. The next item on the schedule is Energy Economics. Just as the name implies, it deals with different energy sources from an economical and also ecological perspective, covering issues such as the advantages and disadvantages of coal or solar energy. As with everything about energy in our degree programme, the focus is on renewable energy sources. Even though they might be promising, we also have to acknowledge their drawbacks. Additionally, we also learn about the German policies associated with renewable energy sources – the so-called “Energiewende”. It’s quite interesting, but a lot to take in at times, especially after physical work.
Still Energy Economics; however, this time we’re dealing with specific laws concerning the fees and taxes for electrical energy in general. As expected, a lot of the paragraphs are quite hard to understand, but the core elements lead to simple maths. Although a lot of the cost for electricity is in taxes, companies with high consumption rates (for instance, the metalworking industry) are offered incentives that save them money. Such companies are required to constantly improve their energy efficiency. This is one of our possible future workplaces – if we decide to join a company. Constant improvement and calculation is the name of the game.
(Bachelor Energy Efficiency, 2nd semester)