This course addresses the role of policy and its underlying politics in the transformation of the energy sector. It covers historical, socio-economic, and political perspectives and applies various theoretical concepts to specific aspects of governing the energy transition.
- To gain an overview of the history of the transition of large technical systems - To recognize current challenges in the energy system to understand the theoretical frameworks and concepts for studying transitions - To demonstrate knowledge on the role of policy and politics in energy transitions
Climate change, access to energy and other societal challenges are directly linked to the way we use and create energy. Both the recent United Nations Paris climate change agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals make a fast and extensive transition of the energy system necessary. This course introduces the social and environmental challenges involved in the energy sector and discusses the implications of these challenges for the rate and direction of technical change in the energy sector. It compares the current situation with historical socio-technical transitions and derives the consequences for policy-making. It then introduces theoretical frameworks and concepts for studying innovation and transitions. It then focuses on the role of policy and policy change in governing the energy transition, considering the role of political actors, institutions and policy feedback. The course has a highly interactive (seminar-like) character. Students are expected to actively engage in the weekly discussions and to give a presentation (15-20 minutes) on one of the weekly topics during that particular session. The presentation and participation in the discussions will form one part of the final grade (50%), the remaining 50% of the final grade will be formed by a final exam.
Slides and reading material will be made available via moodle.ethz.ch (only for registered students).
A reading list will be provided via moodle.ethz.ch at the beginning of the semester.
Prerequisites / Notice
This course is particularly suited for students of the following programmes: MA Comparative International Studies; MSc Energy Science & Technology; MSc Environmental Sciences; MSc Management, Technology & Economics; MSc Science, Technology & Policy; ETH & UZH PhD programmes.
Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)