UEC-31806 Economics and Governance of Energy Transitions


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. ES van Leeuwen
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. CJAM Termeer
dr. EH van der Werf
prof. dr. ir. ES van Leeuwen
dr. TAP Metze-Burghouts
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. ES van Leeuwen
prof. dr. ir. CJAM Termeer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

AEP-21306 Econometrics
ENR-20306 Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy
UEC-10406 Microeconomics and Behaviour
UEC-21806 Microeconomics
PAP-30806 Governance and Policy Change

Continuation courses:

YSS-81312 BSc-Thesis Economics and Governance


Sustainable energy is an example of a wicked problem: it links to international markets, environmental externalities and social inequalities, comes with high economic costs, and concerns many stakeholders that have wide-ranging opinions. There is a clear urgency for transitions, but the wicked characteristics of sustainable energy transitions make it challenging to decide who should take action(s), which processes and instruments fit best and how to evaluate policy interventions. What is clear, is that the current debate requires well-informed integrated economic and governance insights.

In this course students capitalize on what they have learned in the first two years of the BEB programme and apply this knowledge, methods and skills to energy transitions in the Netherlands and abroad.
The course will focus on questions such as:
- how to understand energy transitions in the context of international political and economic developments?;
- how to understand energy transitions in the context of international political and economic developments?;
- what are the most important global, national and local policies and agreements (climate, energy, sustainability)?;
what is the role of technological and political lock-ins and how can we prevent that today’s solutions result in tomorrow’s problems?;
- why are new sources of energy contested and how to deal with these controversies?;
- how to govern the energy transition, also taking into account other transitions (circular economy, climate, biobased)?;
- what is the social, spatial and temporal distribution of costs and benefits of current and proposed policy interventions?;
- trough which instruments (such as taxes, regulations, nudging) can we incentivize a decrease in energy use by households and firms?;
- what is the potential of self-organizing initiatives such as local energy cooperatives of energy neutral neighbourhoods?.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to: 
- apply advanced economic and governance theories to energy transitions;
- collect, analyse and interpret relevant information in the field of economics and governance related to energy transitions; 
- apply qualitative and quantitative economic and governance analysis methods to energy transitions;
- design and evaluate potential policy interventions;
- reflect on the usefulness of integrating economic and governance theories.


The course includes lectures, tutorials and an individual paper. During the lectures we discuss several issues and theories regarding energy transitions, at several scales, from economics and governance perspectives. During the tutorials the students will work on assignments in which they apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyse these issues. The assignments will be graded. The activities during the tutorials will contribute to the individual paper, which will focus on analysing the potential of different energy transitions in a particular region or neighbourhood (what works where) and the design of a place-based policy intervention. The paper will be submitted at the end of the period. As such, this course will also be a good preparation for the Bachelor thesis.


- exam (30%);
- group assignments (20%);
- individual paper (50%).
To pass a minimum of 5.50 is required for the individual paper and the exam. In addition the final grade should be a 5.50 at the minimum.


To be announced.

Compulsory for: BEBEconomics and GovernanceBSc1AF