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  3. Energy Regulation and the Law

Energy Regulation and the Law (LAWS70141)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70141
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Adequate, reliable and sustainable supplies of energy are crucial to modern societies, and their assurance demands the close and continuous involvement of governments. This subject explains the challenges—affordability, security of supply, safety, control of monopoly, sustainability in an age of global warming—that the economic and technical characteristics of different energy sources present to governments in Australia, and analyses the regulatory tools that they have at their disposal for responding to such challenges. It shows how the law can function both as an essential vehicle for such regulation and as a constraint on its content. The lecturer is a leading international authority on oil and gas law and has published extensively in the field of regulation.

Principal topics include:

  • The nature of regulation, its development in Australia and its relationship with law
  • General explanations and justifications for regulation
  • The techniques of regulation
  • Regulatory issues posed by the supply of different types of energy:
    • Mineral energies: coal, petroleum and uranium
    • Network energies: electricity, gas
    • Renewable energies
  • The Australian federal environment for energy regulation. Two or more case studies of Australian energy regulation:
    • Electricity and gas: from state monopolies to regulated national markets
    • Mined energies: securing effective exploitation, managing resource conflicts
    • Renewable energies: regulatory incentives
  • Cross-cutting issues in energy regulation:
    • Regulatory authorities
    • Forms of regulation: prescription versus goal-based regulation; discretion versus rules; legislation versus contract
    • Regulatory review and evaluation.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the function of regulation in reaction to the energy industries and of the role of law in supporting and controlling such regulation in the Australian context
  • Have a sound general knowledge of the Australian regulatory regimes for the types of energy covered in the subject
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the legal rules and principles involved in Australian energy regulation
  • Be able to relate Australian experience and practice in the field to experience and practice in other jurisdictions
  • Understand the factors and processes driving or constraining regulatory reform in this field
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to legal aspects of energy regulation
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal and regulatory issues relating to the energy industries
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding the field to relevant specialist and non-specialist audience.

Last updated: 8 September 2019