Students registered for the Master programmes International Economics and Business (ECBM), and Economics of Public Policy and Management (ECSM) are admitted automatically. The course is also open to students of other UU MSc. programmes and specifically for students of the MSc. Sustainable Development (Track Energy and Resources) and the MSc. Energy Sciences. All students are assumed to have or acquire a BSc. level understanding of basic economics (micro, macro, finance and econometrics). Students should contact the coordinator is case of doubt.
Research on global climate change, geopolitical considerations and environmental degradation has established the necessity and desirability of a transition towards a more environmentally and strategically sustainable energy system. At the other end, scientists and engineers have developed many options and technologies that would make this transition feasible. Still, the transition is taking place at a painstakingly slow pace, if at all. As energy is such a fundamental input in modern economies, the challenge of bringing this transition about is huge.
In this course we study what economics has to offer in understanding this challenge. In the first part of the course we turn to environmental policy making with a focus on the European context from week 1. We discuss the basics of resource and environmental economics, review investment behavior under uncertainty and input-output and productivity analysis and the economics of innovation and technical change. In designing effective policies for energy transition we will touch upon a wide variety of sub-disciplines, fields and topics in economic research. Given its multidisciplinary and applied nature this course is open to most students in the academic MSc. programmes at U.S.E. (except for the IBE tracks International Management and International Financial Economics). For all students it offers new topics but may also have some repetition. For students in the programme Competition and Regulation/Economics and Law the regulation and functioning of network sectors such as electricity will be familiar, students in Economics of Public Policy and Management will know about environmental regulation, taxes and subsidies and students in Globalisation and Development will be used to the focus on the international dimension of policies and challenges. The course is also open to master students from other disciplines. You should therefore be prepared to study quite advanced material from less familiar fields in some and explaining concepts that are by now basic to you to your fellow students from other fields and disciplines in other weeks. By integrating these disciplines we aim to get all students to a level of understanding that is required for addressing the issue at hand, not the lowest common denominator.
At the end of the course the student is able to:
Combine theory and empirical skills to the issues related to energy production and use;
Critically evaluate work of others on these dimensions;
Formulate and complete a scientifically researched policy proposal on energy transition.
Lectures, guest lectures, tutorials and assignments.
Written exam (40% individual);
Written assignment (60%). This is an individually graded group assignment: the students write an individual policy proposal that is integrated into a joint policy paper. They are graded individually on the policy proposal and jointly on the introductory parts (identification of major challenges) and joint conclusion, the presentation at the conference and the discussant role they take on other papers.