Energy Policy


Units: 6


This seminar will provide an introduction to modern U.S. energy policy.  Our goal will be to understand, from a practical perspective, how economics, technology, politics, public opinion and national security all influence the development and implementation of policy. 

Questions that we will address include: Why has energy taken on such a critical role in the public policy agenda?  How has U.S. energy policy changed over the years and what lessons have we learned from past initiatives?  How much influence does government really have?  How have new technologies changed the energy landscape and our interactions with other countries?

The class will begin with an overview of the energy sector and the related government structure.  After covering some historical context, we will discuss Presidential initiatives and legislative activity.  We will then consider some case studies, such as the Keystone Pipeline, the development of the Marcellus Shale, and carbon taxes that demonstrate conflicting viewpoints about appropriate energy policy.  The class will also explore international energy security issues like liquefied natural gas and crude oil exports.

This course is a seminar class; I will provide a framework and then guide a discussion among the students. Your preparation and participation are essential. 

Each session will begin with a short review and discussion of current events in the energy sector, including how energy and environmental issues are being addressed by 2020 presidential candidates.  We will also hear from guest speakers, including a number of current and former senior government officials.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this class, students should have a solid understanding of the issues and the players involved in the development and implementation of U.S. energy policy.  Students should be able to articulate the relevant policy considerations and the trade-offs associated with various energy initiatives.  You should be able to draw upon historical examples and develop recommendations for current and future energy policy in the U.S.