Political Economy of Energy Policy
Course Code: PUBLG012
Course Tutor: Dr Slava Mikhaylov (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 3,000 word essay
Credit Value: 15
About this course
This course examines political economy and empirical perspectives of energy supply and demand. It discusses aspects of local, national, and global markets for oil, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear power, and renewable energy; and examines public policies affecting energy markets including taxation, price regulation and deregulation, energy efficiency, and control of emissions. In this course we will develop and use tools of economic analysis to understand the main contemporary policy issues related to energy. The primary focus is on global and national energy markets and institutions, and on how local energy issues are embedded in the context of a national and global political economy.
Some of the types of policy issues addressed include:
- Is the world running out of oil thus leading to a trend of permanently escalating prices?
- Should developed democracies (e.g. UK and US) immediately adopt a binding cap on CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels? And should developing countries adopt a similarly binding cap?
- Did electricity deregulation cause blackouts and skyrocketing prices in California? And what does it tell us about the European Commission proposals to deregulate energy markets in EU?
- Is investing in nuclear power an efficient strategy for producing clean energy in the long run? Or is it better to invest the same resources into energy efficiency and conservation policies?
- How secure is the EU energy supply? How secure is the EU energy demand from the point of view of energy suppliers? How are these two questions interconnected and how do they affect EU energy security?
Students on completing the course will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of, familiarity with, and critical evaluation of the most salient issues within energy policy debate. They will be able to show familiarity with key policy developments in main energy sectors (oil, gas, electricity, nuclear and renewable). Students will be able to discuss the national and international security implications of energy policy. This will give any student an advantage in gaining employment in public and private sector that currently seek energy and climate change literate candidates to fill the growing `green’ section of the job market.