International Energy Law and Sustainability
The regulation of the energy sector is an area in rapid development, given the pressing need to realign energy production and consumption with the imperatives of sustainable development and climate change mitigation. This course aims to provide a comprehensive account of the international and EU normative framework concerning fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, both from a public and a private perspective.
Accordingly, the course is divided into the following four parts.
The first part of the course provides an introduction to international energy law, outlining the different sources, the evolution of energy law and regulation, the structure of the industry, the allocation of rights and duties between the industry and the government and the interrelationship with environmental principles. This includes access to affordable, reliable and clean energy and defining essential concepts such as energy security, energy equity and the importance of the energy sector for sustainable development. Specific focus is also dedicated to the relevance of EU treaties to the energy sector, for example with regard to free movement of goods, competition rules and State aid.
The second part of the course focuses on the regulation of fossil energy sources: oil, gas and coal. It examines the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, addressing among others the rights of states on the mineral resources, licensing regimes (award and conditions) –, State taking and the regulation of resource interests under international law, pollution and protection of the environment in relation to these activities, environmental impact assessment and abandonment of offshore installations (decommissioning).
Importantly, the third part of the course deals with the regulation of renewable energy sources, including wind and solar energy, biomasses and biofuels. It examines the international and EU legal framework fostering an uptake of green energy, including support schemes, market-based mechanisms, smart cities, grids and metering. Moreover, it looks into new and emerging technologies, such as Power-to-X, green hydrogen and the use of renewable fuels for hard-to-decarbonize sectors (e.g. aviation and shipping). It further introduces the legal framework on energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage.
The fourth part of the course explores cross-cutting issues, such as electricity market regulation, the establishment of interconnections, the role of consumers and prosumers, nuclear energy and the role of trade and investment law.
The course builds upon the MA education by applying legal methodology within the specialized area of international energy law and sustainability, which includes both international and EU law aspects. This means that the students are requested to understand, identify, analyze and solve legal issues and questions in a complex political and legal setting that involves actors and regulatory frameworks at many levels.
- Present an overview of the different energy supply sectors, the actors, organization and tasks and put into perspective the interdisciplinary differences and similarities;
- Explain the basic regulation of the energy supply sectors and the relevant environmental legal principles;
- Identify and analyze the importance of secure energy supplies, international cooperation and trade and sustainable development;
- Explain the importance of energy in a modern society, and critically reflect upon the interrelationship between policy, economy and law;
- Explain and analyze the political and regulatory shift from monopoly to liberalization;
- Analyze pros and cons between different regulatory instruments and models;
- Explain and analyze the interrelationship between the rights and obligations of states in relation to natural resources;
- Analyze the balance of rights between states, industry and consumers;
- Analyze and compare international, EU and national rules and practice within energy law and related environmental issues;
- Identify and analyze relevant problems and legal arguments within energy law and the connected environmental impact on the basis of a complex material;
- Present solutions and arguments in a systematic and coherent manner that shows in-depth knowledge and understanding of the problems within energy law and environmental impact issues;
- Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a structured and coherent way.
Class discussion based on control and analytical questions related to the legal texts and critical review and consideration of actual or potential energy related conflicts; and group work to be prepared beforehand and presented by students in class, including case analysis. Relevant video spots from you tube are used to vary the learning and teaching framework. External video presentations by expert staff member of Colerado Law School. External visit to an important energy player – company, public authority, law firm or energy facility.
A collection of book chapters, articles and extracts of reports will be made available in digital form. Primary legal materials (Conventions, legislation and case law) will be made available on Absalon.
A combination of primarily legal, but more limted some economic or social and natural scientific understanding of technology could add to the understanding
The course does not require that students have followed any specific courses beforehand.
Related subjects (any related courses or related subject areas):
Climate Change and the Law, International and EU Environmental Law
There will be a continued feed back during the course by the teacher and by the students to fellow students on level of activity and presentations. There will be a discussion from the first lecture on the expectation of the teacher and students to performance during class, mid-term evaluation and final evaluation. There will be used examples of earlier exam questions with teacher response and self-evaluation of and to the answers.
- 15 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
- Type of assessment details
- Written exam, 4 hours with invigilation
- Only certain aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Single subject courses (day)
- Course number
- 15 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice
- Students enrolled at Faculty of Law or holding a pre-approval: No tuition fee
- Professionals: Please visit our website
Please see timetable for teaching time
- Faculty of Law
- Beatriz Martinez Romera (23-74777386847b8c407f7384867b80778c4084817f778473527c8784407d8740767d)
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Courseinformation of students