851-0609-06L  Governing the Energy Transition

SemesterAutumn Semester 2021
LecturersT. Schmidt, N. Schmid, S. Sewerin
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentPrimarily suited for Master and PhD level.


AbstractThis 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 understand specific aspects of the governance of the energy transition.
Objective- 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 gain knowledge on the role of policy and politics in energy transitions
ContentClimate change, access to energy and other societal challenges are directly linked to the way we use and create energy. Both the 2015 United Nations Paris climate change agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals make a fast and extensive transition of the energy system necessary.
This lecture 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 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 grade will be determined by a final exam.
Lecture notesSlides and reading material will be made available via moodle.ethz.ch (only for registered students).
LiteratureA reading list will be provided via moodle.ethz.ch at the beginning of the semester.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis 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.