EME 444
Global Energy Enterprise

EME 444 Syllabus


EME 444: Global Energy Enterprise (Fall 2023)

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can read it sequentially by scrolling down the length of the document. It is essential that you read the entire document as well as the material covered in the course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."


Seth Blumsack

  • A note about contacting me: The best way to reach me is via Canvas email ("inbox"). I check my email frequently and will do my best to respond to you within 24 hours during the work week. I cannot guarantee prompt responses during the weekend. If you have a question regarding course content (unless you do not want others to see it) I request that you use the Questions about EME 444?  discussion board. This may help other students who have the same or similar questions. NOTE: Do not wait until Sunday night to email me with a question about an assignment; EXPECT A 24 hour turnaround, minimum. 
  • Office Hours: I do not hold regular office hourse for this course, but am happy to speak with students who have questions. I will check for and reply to Canvas messages at least once each workday, and some weekend days. Please contact me through Canvas email to make an appointment if you’d like to speak to me at a given time. 

Course Overview

Description: Industry perspective on the resources, technologies, engineering approaches, and externalities involved in satisfying worldwide energy demand profitably and sustainably.  A strong focus is placed on non-market actors and stakeholders.

Prerequisites: ECON 104 or equivalent, EGEE 102, EGEE 120. Students should come into this course having seen at least some basic energy concepts in a previous course. If terms like BTU and Watt are totally foreign to you, then you likely don't have enough prior preparation to succeed in EME 444. I also expect that students have some basic knowledge of how to use internet web browsers, word processing programs (like Microsoft Word), spreadsheet programs (like Microsoft Excel), and presentation programs (like Microsoft Powerpoint). All of this software is available to you free as a Penn State student. Please note, per university prerequisite policy, students who do not meet these prerequisites may be dis-enrolled during the first 10-day free add-drop period. If you have not yet completed all of these courses, please contact the instructor to request a waiver or drop this course and retake it at a later date.

The global energy enterprise is the collective industry supplying the energy that an increasing majority of the world depends upon. The industry consists of many competing yet interdependent organizations. Some energy producers are large, but many are small; some are independently owned, others state-owned, and still others a little of both. A desired competitive advantage may be viewed in the context of the market environment alone. However, in the industry of global energy enterprise, a significant advantage can be won or lost due to nonmarket forces and strategies. The activities of the energy industry tend to generate large externalities that may be obscured, exported, or passed on to future generations. Social networking tools have reduced costs of coordination for collective action against externalization, potentially leading to impediments and even loss of access to markets. This suggests the critical need to learn both market and nonmarket strategies in the global energy enterprise.

The energy enterprise is technology-intensive. A vast technological infrastructure and highly skilled workforce is needed to discover, assess, extract, process, and distribute energy resources sufficient to power our globalized world. As energy demand increases, and easily recoverable resources are constrained, the enterprise relies increasingly on innovative technologies and engineering solutions to sustain production and profits. A primary objective of the course is to ensure students’ familiarity with established and emerging energy production, processing, and distribution technologies.

The energy enterprise is also capital-intensive, due to the high cost of building and maintaining energy infrastructures and sustaining research and development efforts. Government regulation is often necessary to minimize risks that discourage capital investments and to incentivize investments in emerging technologies that may help countries achieve energy security and reduce the detrimental impacts of fossil fuel use. A secondary objective of the course is to equip students to prepare and defend recommendations for investments in emerging energy technologies and businesses.

EME 444 is designed to help students achieve three of the programmatic educational objectives established for the Energy and Sustainability Policy degree. It fosters energy industry knowledge by ensuring students’ ability to detect and correct misstatements and misconceptions about energy resources, technologies, and uses. It helps students achieve a global perspective through case studies of energy businesses and policy regimes worldwide. And it nurtures analytical skills by challenging students to discover, acquire, read, interpret, and evaluate information beyond what is provided by the instructor.

What I Expect of You

On average, most students spend 8 - 12 hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits and the extent of your background knowledge and experience.

The designers of this course have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different than a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me, as well as with your fellow students.

Specific learning objectives for each lesson and project are detailed within each lesson. The class schedule is published under the Calendar tab in Canvas (the course management system used for this course), as well as on the Home page of this class.

While the online class environment gives you some flexibility as to when you work on readings, assignments and other course activities, EME 444 is not a course that you can complete entirely at your own pace. Students will need to keep up with coursework on a weekly basis and will need to be aware of due dates for weekly quizzes as well as the course project. Working ahead of the lesson schedule will not be possible. If you have a serious professional obligation that will interfere with normal progress in the course, please speak to me about it as early as possible and we can develop a plan for keeping you on track.

Required Course Materials

All materials needed for this course are presented online through Canvas. In order to access full materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the Outreach Helpdesk.

For additional needs related to socioeconomic status, please visit Project Cahir.

Assignments and Grading

EME 444 will rely upon a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

  • Lesson Quizzes  Each lesson is accompanied by a question set based on lesson content and assigned reading and, in some cases, utilizing models and data from a range of sources. The idea is to promote learning (and retention!) by applying new information in interesting ways. These Activities will be in the form of an Canvas quiz and will include a variety of question types, including short answer essay questions that may require additional independent research. Weekly Activities are to be done individually, representing YOUR own work. Review the Academic Integrity information.
  • Case Study  This is a Nonmarket Analysis Case Study completed as a Team Project. At the beginning of the semester you will be assigned to a Team, and then you can choose a Case Study Issue within your group.

The Case study has three parts:

  • Background & Status (Word document)
  • Stakeholders & Summary Table (Word document)
  • Strategy & Recommendations (PowerPoint presentation)

Detailed guidelines for each section are given in the Lesson content. The Team will receive one grade for each part of the Case Study. These grades will not be posted to the gradebook, but I will provide grades and feedback to each team.

After all parts of the Case Study are complete, each member of the team will complete a team assessment survey of individual contributions by each team member. The team will be given one total Case Study score. Individual scores for the Case Study will be calculated as: Team Score x Team Assessment of Contribution. Depending on your level of contribution to the Case Study, your individual score may be the same as the Team Score, or it may be lower or higher (not to exceed 100 points).

  • Case Study Q&A (Discussion Forums) Each Case Study will be uploaded to a Discussion Forum. Participation in the Discussion Forums is required and comments will be graded on an individual basis.

Due dates for all assignments are posted on the course calendar in Canvas. Assignments are due by 11:55PM Eastern Standard Time on dates provided.

Grades are assigned by the percentage of possible points earned in each Lesson's activities, as shown below.

Grades by Activity Type
Activity Percent
Course Orientation (Introduction and Quiz) 1%
Weekly Activities (12 @ 5%) 60%
Nonmarket Analysis Case Study (Team Grade x Team Assessment of Contribution) 30%
Case Study Q & A (Discussion Forum) 10%

I will use the Canvas gradebook to keep track of your grades. You can view your grades by clicking on the Grades tab in Canvas.

Overall course grades will be determined as follows. Percentages refer to the proportion of all possible points earned.

Important Note: I will not drop low scores on quizzes or case study assignments. I do not grade on a curve, and I do not offer extra credit of any kind.

Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentages
Letter Grade Percentage
A 93–100%
A- 90–92.9%
B+ 87–89.9%
B 83–86.9%
B- 80–82.9%
C+ 77–79.9%
C 70–76.9%
D 60–69.9%
F <60%
X Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)

EME 444 Course Schedule

imagePrintable Schedule

Below you will find a summary of the primary learning activities for this course and the associated time frames. This course is fifteen weeks in length. Some lessons are more than one week. This is meant to be an overview. See the Canvas Calendar for specific lesson time frames and assignment due dates.

EME 444 Course Schedule
Lesson Tasks
Course Orientation
  • Perform tasks outlined in course orientation to become familiar with the course and the course environment.
  • Post a self-introduction to the course Discussion Forum.
  • Take the Course Information Quiz and pass with a score of 100% in order to gain access to the course content.
Module 1: Market and NonMarket Environments
Lesson 1: Nonmarket Analysis
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 2: Public Politics
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 3: Private Politics
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 4: Energy Sector Special Topics
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Module 2: Energy Enterprise
Lesson 5: Nuclear
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 6: Coal
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 7: Natural Gas
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 8: Biomass and Hydro
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 9: Solar and Wind
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Module 3: Global Political Economies
Lesson 10: Europe
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 11: China
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.
Lesson 12: India
  • Read Lesson and all assigned material.
  • Complete and submit Weekly Activity.

Tips for Success in EME 444

  • Subscribe to the "Questions about EME 444?" discussion forum - Go to the Canvas Discussions tab and click "Subscribe" under the "Questions about EME 444?" discussion forum. (No seriously, please go there now and do this!) If you do this, an email will be sent to your Canvas email every time anyone posts to the forum. This way, you will keep up to date on questions that others have, and answers I provide.  Keeping up with the "Questions about EME 444?" discussion forum is an expectation for this course. If I post something in this discussion forum, I expect students to read it and treat it the same way as information written on the blackboard in an in-person classroom. You are encouraged to do the same for the Coffee Shop forum, which is a place set aside to post anything of interest, whether related to the course or not (e.g. project, photos, interesting articles, etc.) - this is a good way to get you know your classmates and add some extra interest to the course. Participation in the Coffee Shop is not required, but can be fun! Both of these can be found in the Discussions tab in Canvas.
  • Participate—Odd as it seems, in many ways an online environment gives us greater opportunity to get to know one another and exchange ideas, challenges, and interesting thoughts. As a working commuting student, I took many courses where I just made it to class after work and then scooted out the door to get home and tend to family. Chats with others were hurried and simple. Sure, we were “together” (in the same place), but our time was generally spent listening to the professor. Isn’t it interesting that now, without the constraint of having to be in the same place at the same time, we have more of a chance to communicate with one another? Use the course Discussion Forums to get to know one another, work together, learn from one another, and even have a laugh. It’s a special opportunity. You’ll learn more, enjoy the course more, and probably earn a better grade.
  • Do the work on time, or better yet, ahead of time —Lesson Questions, the Team Project, and Case study Discussion Forums are the learning assessment tools for this course. In this class, it won’t work to wait three weeks and then cram for an exam. There are no exams. The question sets are designed to be thought-provoking and in many cases require some interpretation. The designated Discussion Forums provide a place where you can work together to surface problems and questions and give me the chance to redirect or provide additional information if needed. I strongly advise not waiting until the last minute to start the week’s assignments. Give yourself time to ask, think, and interact with me and your classmates. None of the exercises are timed, so you can start and stop them as you please until they are due. I am more than happy to provide feedback if you have a question after beginning an assignment, but will likely not be available at the last minute.  It is always a good idea to start early!
  • Be responsible and honest—I’m glad you’re taking this course and hope it is a rewarding experience for you with long-lasting benefits. Let’s keep it a good thing. Please review our course policy on Academic Integrity described above. Treat yourself, your classmates, and the instructor with honesty and respect at all times. I'll do the same.

Course Policies

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the IT Service Desk (for World Campus students) or Penn State's IT Help Portal (for students at all other campus locations).

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.

Mixed Content

This site is considered a secure web site, which means that your connection is encrypted. We do, however, link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements page to view the mixed content.


This course must be viewed using the latest version of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported. If you use any other browser, or if you are not using the latest version of your browser, some pages containing equations may not render properly. In addition, javascript must be enabled for equations to render properly. If you have any issues with equations not rendering properly, please update your browser to the latest version or try using a different browser. If you need additional technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

This course follows the procedures for academic integrity of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's Academic Integrity Training for Students

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for Campus Disability Coordinators at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Office for Student Disability Resources website.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. See documentation guidelines at Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Change in Normal Campus Operations

In case of weather-related delays or other emergency campus disruptions or closures at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to these delays or closures. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  Services include the following:

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information to others whom you do not know.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period.  It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy.  If, for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Participation in Peer-to-Peer Activities

This course follows the Energy and Sustainability Policy programs' Constructive Participation in ESP Peer-Peer Activities policy for student participation in peer-to-peer activities in ESP courses, such as group discussions, team projects and peer reviews of another’s work. In all peer-to-peer learning activities, students are expected to participate constructively with others in the practice and development of effective communication skills. This means NO personal attacks, NO name-calling, and NO threatening language of any kind. Consequences may include losing the opportunity to participate in (and earn credit for) all remaining peer-to-peer assignments for the duration of the course. Any instance of threatening language will be reported to the Penn State Office of Student Conduct.


This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances or University approved activities.

If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

For additional information, see:

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.


Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. All changes will be communicated to you via e-mail, course announcement and/or course discussion forum.