Spring 2010 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Energy Law
Instructor(s): David Spence
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 62460
Day & Time: Tuesdays, Thursdays, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Room: GSB 3.104
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Notes: Cross List with LEB 380.31(03520)

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: This course is intended to introduce graduate students to the ways in which legal/regulatory systems affect the energy industry, and to the important economic and political concerns that underlie the regulation of production and sale of energy. The course will be comparative: that is, while much of our focus will be on the American regulatory system, we will consider legal regimes from other countries as well. We will study, among other things: (1) the structure of the energy industry itself; (2) the evolution of Anglo-American regulatory systems from traditional public utility rate regulation to the partially deregulated system of today; (3) the role of state ownership and privatization of energy services in the rest of the world; (4) regulation of production and other aspects of the industry upstream of wholesale and retail sales; and (5) the issue of “political/regulatory risk” as it affects investment in the energy industry.

Readings: The readings for this course will include Brennan et al., Alternating Currents: Electricity Markets and Public Policy (RFF 2002), readings linked from the syllabus, and handouts.
Electronic communication: The official syllabus for this course will be on the web. When changes are made in the syllabus, I will notify you in class or via email or both; however, it is your responsibility to consult the syllabus periodically and keep up to date with changes. In addition, the syllabus contains important cross-links to other web locations that you may find helpful. Unless I indicate otherwise, these links are not required readings. Nevertheless, I encourage you to visit them. I will communicate to you via email using the email list on blackboard for this course. If you are not enrolled as a user at the blackboard site, you will not receive group email communications.

(1) Class participation (including in-class exercises) comprises 30% of your course grade. Perfect attendance in class does not guarantee you an “A” in class participation; rather, you can maximize your class participation grade by coming to class having done the readings and prepared to discuss them, and by demonstrating creativity and effort in your participation in in-class exercises. Except when required during in-class exercises or by arrangement with the instructor, laptop use in class is prohibited. More about participation grades.

(2) Each student will be responsible for preparing a briefing consisting of a memo and in-class presentation to classmates on energy issues. (See the syllabus for briefing topics). For each briefing, students must prepare an individual memo, and participate in an in-class team presentation (with one or two other students). The memo should be no more than 6 pages in length (single-spaced, exclusive of charts and graphs, 12-point regular-width font), with citations to authority (footnotes or parenthetical citations). More on memo writing. The presentation should be 20-25 minutes in length, and will address the same topic as your memo. You will receive an individual grade on your memo, and a team grade on your presentation. The memo and presentation will each comprise 20% of your course grade. For more information about individual briefing topics, please see me.

(3) A final take-home problem will comprise the remaining 30% of your grade. The problem requires no additional research; rather it asks you to apply concepts from class and the readings to a hypothetical problem and produce a written response. It is essentially a take-home, single problem final exam.

Please see Dr. Spense’s web site for further information regarding his expectations for participation and memo writing. You will also find an assignment schedule.

Return to Spring 2010 Course Schedule