EME 801
Energy Markets, Policy, and Regulation

EME 801 Syllabus

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EME 801 Syllabus, Fall 2023

It is essential that you read the entire syllabus as well as the material covered in the course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."


Instructor

Mark Kleinginna

Mark Kleinginna
College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Email: If you need to contact me about anything related to the course, please use Canvas Conversations - the “Inbox” link (Canvas Inbox icon) in Canvas.
  • Office Hours: By appointment (please contact me via Canvas to request an appointment).

Note

I will read and respond to email and discussion forums at least once per day during the work week (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!


Course Overview

Description

EME801 provides an overview of the basics of energy project decision-making, project finance, energy risk management and how to think about the impacts of commodity market dynamics on these decisions. The course also provides a broad introduction to global markets for crude oil and refined petroleum products; natural gas; and electric power. A major goal of the course is to help students understand how market design, market institutions and regulatory structures affect firm-level decision-making in the energy industries, and ultimately how these decisions affect the functioning of energy markets and the prospects for alternative technologies. It is hoped that this course provides a financial background for students to think about how energy markets for both renewables and other forms of energy will affect the current and coming transitions. EME 801 serves as part of the core set of courses for the M.P.S. program in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Systems (RESS) offered through the Penn State World Campus.

Prerequisites

Consistent with entry requirements for the RESS program some background in a relevant technical area (math, science or engineering) is assumed. I will not check everyone’s background, but if you are not comfortable with concepts like BTUs, Watts, or the difference between a Watt and a Watt-hour, then you may find yourself quickly becoming confused by some of the material. Please email me if you have any questions about your preparation for the course.

No background in economic analysis is assumed, but we will do a lot of complex quantitative thinking, analysis, and calculations. EME 801 is a highly quantitative course, so be prepared for a lot of math and a lot of calculations. The analytical expectations for this course are:

  • Knowledge of high school level algebra: we will perform a lot of calculations that require basic arithmetic skills (such as raising numbers to exponents). The use of algebra (solving equations for a single unknown variable or two unknown variables) will also be extensive in this course, especially once we get to financial modeling.
  • From time to time, we will also make use of basic concepts from probability and statistics.
  • I expect students to be comfortable, if not proficient, with the use of spreadsheet software (like Microsoft Excel) for making complex calculations, working with large data sets, and for graphing. If you do not have access to a commercial-grade spreadsheet program (such as Excel or OpenOffice), you will need to get access to the Spreadsheet application available through Google Drive (http://drive.google.com) or a similar online tool.

Prior to accessing the first course lesson, all students will need to pass the course orientation quiz.

As a Penn State student, you also have access to a number of training modules on LinkedIn Learning, and there are many that cover the basic functions of Excel. EME 801 is not a good course to learn the ropes in working with Excel or other spreadsheet tools. Throughout the course, you will be asked to manipulate large data sets in Excel, perform complex calculations and generate professional-looking graphics using Excel. If you are new to Excel, you should expect to spend a lot of time during the first few weeks learning how to use and manipulate spreadsheets.


Course Objectives: 

When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • communicate some facts about global energy industries and energy policy;
  • use a set of standard quantitative tools used in decision-making in the energy industries;
  • explain how emerging regulations may change industry decision-making;
  • describe how modern markets for energy commodities are structured;
  • describe how existing and emerging environmental concerns and policies will impact these markets;
  • evaluate the profitability of new projects or technologies in the context of these markets and regulations;
  • develop basic financial statements for energy projets.

What I Expect of You

On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits. This is a very fast-paced course that covers a great deal of ground in fifteen weeks. Please come into the class prepared to focus on the material and ready to engage with the course each and every week.

I 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 as part of the Syllabus in Canvas (the course management system used for this course) and can also be accessed using the Calendar link (Canvas Calendar Icon) in Canvas.


Required Course Materials

Other than access to readings supplied in the course lessons, there are no other required materials for this course. The course lessons will often contain links to public-domain materials that can supplement the course content. If you must know more, I highly recommend the following books:

  • The Global Oil and Gas Business by Sam van Vactor (2010, PennWell books, ISBN 9787593702144)
  • Electric Choices: Deregulation and the Future of Electric Power, edited by Andrew Kleit (2006, Rowan and Littlefield, ISBN 9780742548763)

In addition, there are some online resources that provide some generally useful explanation or analysis of energy market issues.

  • Today in Energy, a daily online publication of the US Energy Information Administration. These are short articles, usually supplemented with nice data or graphics, about an energy issue of current interest. Historical articles are archived here, or you can always find the latest article on the EIA home page.
  • There are two sections of the New York Times that have a lot of well-written pieces on energy, the environment and climate change. One is the Energy and Environment page under the Business Section. The other is the Climate and Environment Section. If you are interested in energy and the environment, these are worth a regular read but they won't always be directly relevant to the course.
  • GreenTechMedia also often has well-written pieces on emerging energy technologies.
  • Utility Dive is a great online news resource for topics on electricity. They have a daily news service that delivers stories to your email inbox.
  • RBN Energy has a daily blog post on energy markets (mainly oil and gas but also on renewable power generation, hydrogen and biofuels). It is very well written, and you can sign up to get these delivered to your email inbox every morning.
  • There are a number of podcasts on energy issues that are quite good. Among the most interesting (in my view) is The Energy Gang, which is a unit of Greentech Media.

Assistance 

Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, please contact your academic advisor. For additional needs, related to socioeconomic status, please visit Project Cahir or visit the Office of Student Care and Advocacy at 220 Boucke Building or call 814-863-2020.


Assignments and Grading

You will be asked to complete a variety of assessment exercises over the course of the semester. Your semester grade will be determined by a 1000-point weighting scheme. Deliverables include the following:

  • Discussions (150 points) (via Zoom), where we will discuss topics covered in the week's lesson and associated readings. You will participate in a survey that determines the times/dates for our Zoom calls. You are required to attend at least three of these Zoom calls (but you're welcome to come to all of them!). An alternate assignment, based on a recording of the call, will be provided for those who cannot attend the live calls.
  • Quizzes (100 points), where you will show your understanding of lesson and course concepts
  • A final exam (50 points), where you will demonstrate mastery of course concepts
  • A semester-long project (700 points), which is described in this syllabus and in Lesson 2

I do not incorporate extra credit in my courses - your grade is determined by performance on regular assignments and nothing else.

Please see the Course Schedule, below, for more information

Even though the course is online and you can complete each lesson at your own pace within the week, you should plan your work/school/life balance appropriately so that you can complete each lesson's activities. As you are working on the assignments, you are encouraged to share ideas and questions you may have in the "Questions about EME 801?" Discussion Forum located in Canvas. 

Due dates for all assignments are posted on the course calendar in Canvas. Assignments are due by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the due date.

I will use the Canvas Gradebook to keep track of your grades. You can see your grades in the grade book, too, by clicking the Grades link in the Canvas menu. Overall course grades will be determined as follows. Note that I will follow this rubric strictly. I will not round up in case you wind up with a grade that is on the boundary. For example, if you end the semester with 869 points, you get a B+. I will not round grades up and will not respond to requests for extra credit.

Letter Grade and Total Semester Points
Letter Grade POINTS
A 930 - 1000
A- 900 - 929
B+ 870 - 899
B 830 - 869
B- 800 - 829
C+ 770 - 799
C 700 - 769
D 600 - 699
F Less than 600
X Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)

EME 801 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. See our Calendar in Canvas for specific lesson time frames and assignment due dates.

Module Deadline Assignment Type Description Pts.
Course Assignments 
Orient.
Week 1
See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz 1
Introductions to classmates
Complete Quiz 1 (Zoom call preference/availability)
 0
10
2 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz 2
Zoom call
Quiz 2
50
10
3 See Canvas
for Dates
Project work Project Charter/Stakeholder Register 75
4 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz 3
Project work
Zoom call
Quiz 3
Revenue Time Series
Op Expense Time Series
50
10
50
50
5 See Canvas
for Dates
Project work Capital Costs 50
6 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz 4
Zoom call
Quiz 4
50
10
7 See Canvas
for Dates
Quiz
Project work
Quiz 5
Risk Management Measures
10
50
8 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz
Project work
Project work
Zoom call
Quiz 6
Financial Model
Financial Metrics 
50
10
50
50
9 See Canvas
for Dates
Quiz
Project work
Quiz 7
Policy Sensitivities
10
50
10 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz
Project work
Zoom call
Quiz 8
Fuel Market Sensitivities
50
10
50
11 See Canvas
for Dates
Project work Project work week (no deliverables) 0
12 See Canvas
for Dates
Quiz
Project work
Quiz 9
Electricity Market Sensitivities
10
50
13 See Canvas
for Dates
Discussion
Quiz
Zoom call
Quiz 10
50
Thanks-
giving
See Canvas
for Dates
------------------ T h a n k s g i v i n g   B r e a k ------------------ -
14 See Canvas
for Dates
Exam Comprehensive Exam 50
15 See Canvas
for Dates
Project work
Discussion
Non-Financial Costs, Benefits
Optional Zoom call/wrap-up
75
 0
FINALS
WEEK
See Canvas
for Dates
Project work Final Report/Presentation of Results 100

Tips for Success in EME 801

  • Participate—Odd as it seems, in many ways, an online environment gives us a great opportunity to get to know one another and exchange ideas, challenges, and interesting thoughts. Please take full advantage of this opportunity; you’ll learn more, enjoy the course more, and probably make a better grade.
  • Do the work on time—This course moves quickly! I strongly advise not waiting until the last minute to start the assignments. Give yourself time to ask, think, and interact with me and your classmates.
  • 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

Withdrawals and Refunds

Students who officially withdraw from the class may be entitled to a pro-rated refund of tuition. For more information, see Refund Policy under World Campus Student Policies.

Penn State Email Accounts

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

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by email or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Make-up Exam Policy

Make-up exams will not be allowed. 

Curve

Grades for this class will not be curved.

Late Policy

I do not expect much "late work." In the circumstances which require late submissions, you should contact me. The earlier you contact me to request a late submission, the better. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The nature of the course is fairly punitive if you fail to keep up, so an explicit late policy on grading is not enforced. Course lessons are available to you in advance. It is your responsibility to plan ahead and work ahead if necessary to accommodate your personal schedule. This flexibility is one of the great features of online learning. Take advantage of it!

Netiquette

The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as email and bulletin board postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Equations

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 will 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).

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.

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.

Attendance

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.


Disclaimer

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.