Spring 2021  |  PA 5721 Section 001: Energy Systems and Policy (65707)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
Completely Online
Class Attributes:
Online Course
Enrollment Requirements:
Graduate Student
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/19/2021 - 05/03/2021
Mon, Wed 08:15AM - 09:30AM
Off Campus
Enrollment Status:
Open (16 of 30 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Impact of energy production/consumption choices on environmental quality, sustainable development, and other economic/social goals. Emphasizes public policy choices for energy/environment, linkages between them.
Class Notes:
Class will be offered REMOTELY. Class will meet synchronously-online during Spring 2021 during the scheduled time. http://classinfo.umn.edu/?edwar369+PA5721+Spring2021
Class Description:
This class will give a broad overview of energy systems in modern society, the social and environmental implications of current technology choices, and the market and policy structures that govern energy production and use. Topics will include state and federal regulatory jurisdictions, utility business models, oil and gas markets, local government policy, electrification, renewable and distributed energy, and consumer end-use trends. The focus will largely be on the US domestic context, though some material will be dedicated to international case studies.

This class will provide a core understanding of the physical constraints that underlie modern energy systems,and the policy tools used to manage the social and environmental impacts of those systems. The first half of the course will be a survey of different energy systems, their environmental impact, and associated policy frameworks (e.g. different regulatory structures and jurisdictions). The second half will focus on cross cutting themes and case studies.

Learning Objectives:
1. Gain a working knowledge of the physical constraints that underlie energy systems and the life cycle environmental impact of different energy sources.

2.Understand the historical context for why and how different energy systems are regulated, and the major levers of policy change

3. Understand the different market forces at work that govern energy supply and demand

4. Consider how values of energy access and equity are represented in current policy

5. Understand how choices in scientific analysis (especially modeling) and the structure of stakeholder input impact policy outcomes

6. Gain experience in writing and critical thinking around energy issues to more effectively communicate with key decisionmakers

Grading for this course will be based on class participation, four assignments throughout the semester, and an 8-10 minute final presentation. All assignments will be completed individually (no group projects) although collaboration is encouraged. Class participation will assess quality of individual contributions to the class discussion and completion of weekly readings.

The below grading breakdown is tentative and will be confirmed by the first day of instruction.

- 15% Class Participation

- 60% Four Homework Assignments (15% each)

- 25% Final Presentation
Exam Format:
No Exams
Class Format:
Lecture with class discussion

The workload for this course will primarily be reading, writing, and in-class discussion. Readings will be assigned for every class. There will be one quantitative problem set, three short writing assignments, and a final presentation.

Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/edwar369_PA5721_Fall2018.docx (Fall 2018)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
25 June 2018

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2021 Public Affairs Classes Taught by Jennifer Edwards

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