Law, Society & State: Clean Energy Technology

Quick Info
(3520J.03)  Seminar
S. Pasternack; Adjunct Professor
3 credit(s)  2 hour(s);
In-class lectures, guest speakers, discussions, student presentations
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

This course focuses on the laws and policies pertaining to clean energy technologies in Canada and what changes are needed, if any, to enable these technologies to significantly grow and expand in an effort to better address climate change. We begin with a review of various technologies — including electricity from solar, wind and geothermal; and heating/cooling from waste processing, wastewater processing, sewer systems, and district energy systems. Students will then choose a clean energy technology to research and develop throughout the next segment of the course which is focused on whether and how the production, transmission, and distribution of these energy sources should be regulated and financed in Canada, as compared to existing frameworks for conventional oil and gas, as well as hydro and nuclear. We consider the roles that federal, provincial and local governments can and should play in this process in light of international, constitutional, and administrative regulatory frameworks. Moreover, we assess policy tools -– such as clean energy credits, cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, externality disclosure policies, energy retrofit programs, green building initiatives, and loan loss reserve funds — that help promote clean energy by making non-renewable sources more costly. Students will apply their knowledge gained throughout the course to the particular clean energy technology that they selected earlier and then will prepare and provide an in-class presentation and written research paper on the strategy that they have developed to enable their selected technology to succeed. Classes will include lectures, expert guest speakers, discussions, and student presentations.