Seminar: Energy Economics

Course content

Energy is a vital component for any society. The access to cheap, clean, and secure energy is high on the agenda and energy is a key component in the green transition. Thus, energy has received much notice from both politicians and from economists.

Whether on a transmission or distribution level, power-, natural gas and district heating grids are natural monopolies. This gives rise to a wide array of questions; How can regulation be put in place to provide incentives for the monopolistic companies to secure a cost efficient provision of their network services? – and how can such regulation be enforced?

The energy market is unpredictable and heavily dependent on nature – both on the demand side and on the supply side, with a growing share of wind- and solar power in the energy mix. A seasonal demand leaves room for storage of energy (oil tanks, gas storages, thermal power pits), financial price hedging, and possibly arbitration. Countries and regions prepare for extreme weather conditions and cold spells in dry years, as the unavailability of energy under these circumstances means casualties. However, this ‘insurance’ has the characteristics of a public good – so how do societies ensure that sufficient security of supply is provided?

Energy commodities on the exchange are as easy to trade as stocks and bonds, but not as easy to transport. Commodities have physical constraints that must be taken account of when priced in the financial market. The constraints include transportation capacity (e.g. tankers, transmission lines or gas pipelines), transportation time, political instability, storage capacity, transportation tariffs, production capacities and production fallouts. Thus, physical constraints like these will affect prices, trade, and availability.

Yet, these commodities are traded in vast volumes, globally. Energy prices are volatile, and depends on local as well as global conditions. This leaves room to apply financial analysis to the energy markets.

Looking at the supply side of energy, some areas are characterized by competition (i.e. the generation of power) whereas others are characterized by monopoly or oligopoly. The most obvious example is OPEC, which is a prime example of a cartel that dictates output. However the market power is not isolated to oil – there are only few major coal producers in the world, and a majority of European natural gas imports stems from one supplier.

When transporting energy across borders in Europe, a shipper will face tariffs for using the transmission grid. There are different methodologies for tariffs, and the different tariff structures hold different properties. Questions on the optimal tariff structure, the potential cross subsidization and the deadweight loss imposed by tariffs can be analyzed.

Energy is a topic very much influenced by politics – climate politics, trade politics, and even social politics in some countries. Topics of interest here include security of supply, ‘energy independence’, market interventions, the market liberalization in EU of first the electricity and since the gas market, and finally how auctioning of capacity constrained infrastructure can be implemented.


MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics.

Learning outcome

After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to:

• Account for selected areas of energy economics

• Analyze a research hypothesis

• Formulate a narrow academic question and hypothesis

• Prepare a schedule for how to write an academic paper

• Apply economic theory and method to a concrete question within energy economics

• Structure a paper and a presentation

• Present hypothesis, approach and results of an academic paper

Supplemented by an overall intended learning outcome outlined in the programme-specific curriculum

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

The aim of the presentations is, that you use the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback at the paper. The presentations are not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.
The teacher defines what materials may be used for the presentations.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the seminar paper after the presentation has taken place.

To be choosen in agreement with the supervisor.

There are no recommended academic qualifications other than the requirements to the Master study programme in Economics.

Relation to subjects and courses Recommended course:
Energy Economics of the Green Transition (Fall 2023)

BSc in Economics or similar

- Kick-off meeting: 5 February 2025, 10:15-13:00
- Extra meetings and guidance: Will be bilaterally agreed during the term
- Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: March 1

- Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: No later than one week before the presentations.

- Presentations: Class I May 14, 09:00-18:00; Class II May 15, 09:00-18:00

- Exam date: 3 June at 10.00 (am) - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

The supervisor gives the students individual guidance during the seminar.

Collective feedback is given as projects are being presented

Each student receives individually oral feedback on the presentation from peers and supervisor.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam
Type of assessment details
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for Seminars.
Exam registration requirements

Attendance in all  activities at the seminar as stated in the formal requrements in the Master curriculum  and at the KUnet for  Seminars (UK)  and  Seminars (DK) is required to participate in the exam.


All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.


Use of AI tools is permitted. You must explain how you have used the tools. When text is solely or mainly generated by an AI tool, the tool used must be quoted as a source.


The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Exam information:

Deadline for submitting the final seminar paper: June 3, 2025 before 10 AM

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for Master (UK) and Master (DK).

Examination Dates can be found here (latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.)



Reexam information:

The reexam form in seminars is a seminar paper with a synopsis.


Deadline and more information is available at Seminars(UK) and Seminars(DK).

More information about reexam etc is available at Master(UK) and Master(DK).


Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

and venue:
Go to "Remarks".

Exam and re-sits: Go to "Exam".
Up to 2 classes / 20 students each
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Frederik Roose Øvlisen   (22-768275747582797b3e827f7f83753e7f867c7983757e5075737f7e3e7b853e747b)

Frederik Roose Øvlisen /

Saved on the 16-05-2024

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