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EME 801 - Energy Markets, Policy, and Regulation

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


EME801 provides an overview of the basics of energy project decision-making, project finance, energy risk management, and how to think about the impacts of commodity market dynamics on these decisions. The course also provides a broad introduction to global markets for crude oil and refined petroleum products; natural gas; and electric power. A major goal of the course is to help students understand how market design, market institutions, and regulatory structures affect firm-level decision-making in the energy industries, and ultimately how these decisions affect the functioning of energy markets and the prospects for alternative technologies. It is hoped that this course provides a financial background for students to think about how energy markets for both renewables and other forms of energy will affect the current and coming transitions. EME 801 serves as part of the core set of courses for the M.P.S. program in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Systems (RESS) offered through the Penn State World Campus.


When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • communicate some facts about global energy industries and energy policy;
  • use a set of standard quantitative tools used in decision-making in the energy industries;
  • explain how emerging regulations may change industry decision-making;
  • describe how modern markets for energy commodities are structured;
  • describe how existing and emerging environmental concerns and policies will impact these markets;
  • evaluate the profitability of new projects or technologies in the context of these markets and regulations;
  • develop basic financial statements for energy projects.

Required Materials

Typically, there are no required materials for this course. If this changes, students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


No background in economic analysis is assumed, but we will do a lot of complex quantitative thinking, analysis, and calculations. EME 801 is a highly quantitative course, so be prepared for a lot of math and a lot of calculations. The analytical expectations for this course are:

  • Knowledge of high school level algebra: we will perform a lot of calculations that require basic arithmetic skills (such as raising numbers to exponents). The use of algebra (solving equations for a single unknown variable or two unknown variables) will also be extensive in this course, especially once we get to financial modeling.
  • From time to time, we will also make use of basic concepts from probability and statistics.
  • I expect students to be comfortable, if not proficient, with the use of spreadsheet software (like Microsoft Excel) for making complex calculations, working with large data sets, and graphing. 


On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits. This is a very fast-paced course that covers a great deal of ground in fifteen weeks. Please come into the class prepared to focus on the material and ready to engage with the course every week.

Major Assignments

Discussions (15% of total course grade)

These are synchronous Zoom calls where we will discuss topics covered in the week's lesson and associated readings. You will participate in a survey that determines the times/dates for our Zoom calls. You are required to attend at least three of these Zoom calls (but you're welcome to come to all of them!). An alternate assignment, based on a recording of the call, will be provided for those who cannot attend the live calls.

Quizzes (10% of total course grade)

Final exam (5% of total course grade)

Semester-long project (70% of total course grade)

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
  • Introductions to classmates
  • Quiz 1
  • Zoom call
  • Quiz 2
  • Project Charter/Stakeholder Register
  • Zoom call
  • Quiz 3
  • Revenue Time Series
  • Op Expense Time Series
  • Capital Costs
  • Zoom call
  • Quiz 4
  • Quiz 5
  • Risk Management Measures
  • Zoom call
  • Quiz 6
  • Financial Model
  • Financial Metrics 
  • Quiz 7
  • Policy Sensitivities
  • Zoom call
  • Fuel Market Sensitivities
  • Quiz 8
  • Zoom call
  • Quiz 9
  • Electricity Market Sensitivities
  • Quiz 10
  • Optional Zoom call/wrap-up
  • Non-Financial Costs, Benefits
  • Comprehensive Exam
Finals WeekFinal Report/Presentation of Results