Energy Transition in the West

Energy Transition in the West - Professors Irion Sanger and Jason Eisdorfer

  • Course Number: LAW-406
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: The energy sector is currently evolving at a rapid pace as it grapples with climate change, swift technology advancements, changing customer expectations, and equity and environmental justice responsibilities. This class will introduce students to the fundamental energy sector laws and policies in the Northwest and throughout the Western United States, and how those laws and policies are transitioning to a new energy paradigm for the 21st Century. We will examine the fundamentals of utility regulation, including ratemaking and resource planning, and energy markets. This background supports the exploration of the major new industry opportunities and challenges associated with decarbonizing the electricity grid and natural gas service, maintaining reliability, customer choice, and addressing equity and environmental justice responsibilities. We will look at major energy sector developments including evolving renewable technologies, rethinking the distribution and use of electricity, the role of federal power marketers, and the electrification of load away from natural gas usage. Energy law and policy are evolving very quickly. This class is designed to emphasize practical understanding by studying actual issues before courts, agencies, and legislatures by using readings that are used and created by practitioners.
  • Learning Objectives: As a result of taking this course, students will be (a) able to understand energy sector law and policy discussions that are on-going throughout the West; and (b) prepared to participate in the energy sector with a baseline understanding of its many current legal issues such as renewable energy acquisition, distribution system modernization, decarbonization, and state regulatory and legislative matters. This will build an understanding of energy law and policy in ways that can be applied during practice in the energy sector. The goal is for students to be able to demonstrate competency on the energy issues facing law practitioners. Relevant practice areas include but are not limited to: administrative law, business law, climate change law, energy law, environmental law, and utility law.
  • Prerequisite: none (Energy Law: Electricity Regulation and/or Energy Resources: Law & Policy are good companion courses, but not required.)
  • Evaluation Method: Final exam, possible quizzes, class participation
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no