Fall 2020 - POL 452W D100

Energy Policy (4)

Class Number: 8234

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 8:30 AM – 12:20 PM



Examines the politics and policies of energy, including historical and technical perspectives. Topics include alternative energy, climate change, regulatory policy, and the economics of energy, as well as practical case studies. Students who have completed POL 459 in 2009 and 2010 may not complete this course for further credit Writing.


This writing-intensive undergraduate/graduate course is designed to examine one of the most pressing issues of our time- how to develop alternative energy sources in the face of climate change. The course starts with a technical introduction to how energy works.  It then moves to an historical perspective focusing on how we developed our petroleum-based economy. It then moves to a review of energy policy frameworks in economic, political, and regulatory terms. The course is centered around helping students to learn how to write a policy memo, which is a standard document of analysis in the public, private, and non-profit arenas. The policy memo will develop an analysis of the feasibility of implementing an alternative energy source or policy, using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The policy memo will serve as a well-vetted and reviewed writing sample for students. The course is supplemented by site visits and guest speakers.


  • Participation 10%
  • Peer review assignments 5%
  • Class presentation of research paper 10%
  • Debate preparation and participation, (5% oral, 5% written) 10%
  • Quizzes based on the readings and lectures 10%
  • Policy memorandum, broken down into 5 stages 55%



All material will be available through article databases and reserve materials from the SFU library and energy policy organization websites.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).