Fall 2023 - POL 452W D100

Energy Policy (4)

Class Number: 4640

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, Thu, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, Thu, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.



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 brief, 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 or an evaluation of an alternative energy project or policy, using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The policy brief will serve as a well-vetted and reviewed writing sample for students. The course is supplemented by site visits and guest speakers.

Course Organization:

The class meets twice per week.  The first class will focus on knowledge acquisition through reviewing the lecture material and answering questions. The second will focus on helping students to prepare their projects and engaging in exercises to build their understanding of energy issues.

NOTE:  This course is combined with POL 855.


  • Participation, including attendance and discussion 10%
  • Quizzes based on the readings and lectures 10%
  • Peer review assignments, worksheets will be given 5%
  • Class powerpoint presentation of research paper 10%
  • Debate preparation & participation, 10% (5% oral, 5% written); 2 bonus marks for winning team 10%
  • Policy memorandum, 55% broken down as below in NOTES 55%


Policy memorandum, 55% broken down as:

          10% proposal incl. lit. review, annotated bibliography, & data sources (7 pp)

          10% statistical analysis and brief context paper on energy trends in the region (15 pp)

          10% Policy options section (5 pp) & Recommendation section (5 pp)

          15% Rough Draft (20 pp)

          10% Final Draft (15-20 pp)



All material is available on Canvas and through Library Reserves.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

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

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.