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APS 305: Energy Policy

Group Term Project: Policy Analysis


Winter 2011

To be completed in groups of 4.

Your group has been hired to conduct policy analysis by one of the Federal departments or Provincial
ministries (e.g., Natural Resources Canada, Ontario Ministry of Energy) in Canada, or a similar
entity elsewhere. You are to select one recent and substantive technical-based energy policy issue, or
project which entails important policy implications. Possibilities include governmental energy policy
issues, specific energy projects which involve a significant policy interaction and international
energy issues that involve policy actors and decisions from multilateral sources.

You may not report on any policy issue/case study/project to be presented in lecture. Examples
of prohibited topics include: the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project, Gazprom and the Russia-Ukraine
Gas Disputes, The Karahnjukar Dam/Alcoa in Iceland and the California Energy Crisis. If doubt
remains, you should consult the senior course TA Andrew Knox (or Professors Colombo and White)
prior to commencing work. Eventually, all topics must be approved at project group registration.

Analyze the issue(s), and prepare a report concisely summarizing your work. The goal (briefly
stated) is to identify the problem, frame the issue, define the policy space and objectives, identify the
policy actors and network(s), generate a range of possible alternatives for addressing the policy issue
or undertaking the project, evaluate these alternatives using a combination of quantitative and
qualitative techniques, and identify what your next steps would be as a policy analyst.

Due Date: The final report is due March 28th, 2011 (at the beginning of class). This written
report is worth 20% of your final grade. Each person in the group will receive the same grade and it
is up to you to ensure that all members contribute fairly to the overall effort. While groups may
delegate specific components of the project to individual members, each group member must take
ownership for the overall final report and be aware of its content. The late penalty is 5% per day.

What you will do

1. Complete some basic background research to find and select the public policy issue. Ensure
that in selecting your issue you consider what is needed to complete the assignment and that
the information you will need for analyzing the issue you have selected is available.
2. Take time to thoughtfully consider the issue(s).
3. Gather outside information from other sources as is necessary to complete the assignment.
Ensure sources are properly cited and referenced.
4. Prepare your written analysis with attention to the requirements below. Write in complete
sentences and use subheadings as appropriate to break up your report. Supporting
tables/figures should be utilized if appropriate, but must not be used to the exclusion of
proper explanation. The main body of the report should be a maximum of 15 pages, 1.5
spaced, 11 pt. font. References should be placed on a separate page following the body of the
report and prior to the appendices. Include carefully prepared appendices in your report. The
appendices should include supporting information for any sections of your report where this
is relevant. However, ensure that any critical information that you wish to convey is included
in the main body of your report.
5. Carefully proofread your report and presentation.

1
Aspects to Consider

You have the flexibility to structure your analysis as you wish – however, the following (see below)
should be addressed. Additional research will be required to fully understand the issue in an objective
and comprehensive way. It is useful to think of this assignment as a policy briefing for a decision-
maker based on the policy issue. Your analysis should be written in a concise and professional
manner, emphasizing the key points. It should be geared toward government decision–makers and
should be a thorough, objective analysis of the key issues involved. It should not be a work of
advocacy for a particular, narrowly focused position. Throughout the analysis, your assumptions and
scoping decisions should be justified. You can consult with both Professors Colombo and White, as
well as with Andrew Knox and Brad Hunt, for assistance and clarification during the project.

In your report you address the following elements, which will likely form sub-sections in the final
document:

1) Problem definition: Define the problem (concise problem statement with key assumptions,
boundaries noted).
2) Frame the issue: Identify the major considerations involved [e.g. social, technological,
environmental, economic, and political]. Include a description of basic constraints and
tradeoffs that exist given these considerations.
3) Networks and actors: Identify key stakeholders involved and their objectives, while noting
any conflicts among different stakeholder positions. In this section, you should consider
providing a pictorial/graphical representation of the relevant policy network(s), indicating the
various entities and their relative degree of influence. However, a diagram alone will not
suffice; you should also provide adequate description for it. You should also go beyond the
most obvious and immediate parties to consider stakeholders peripherally or indirectly
affected by, or involved in the development of, the policy and project. (Draw on policy
network concepts from lectures and assigned readings to help you here)
4) Identify the policy space. Describe a range of alternatives that could be considered. Justify
the selection of your alternatives.
5) Instruments: What are the specific tools available to the decision-maker, policy/project
advocates and proponents? If it is a government agency, for example, consider the range of
legal, procurement, information, etc. options that are available. For projects based in the
private sector, examine specific courses of action proponents can take (e.g., investment
options, technical aspects of the project, etc.) and the role of public sector policy tools (e.g.,
subsidies, tax breaks, sovereign promises of ancillary infrastructure, etc.)
6) Policy/project evaluation: Identify key policy criteria and evaluate the alternatives you
identified with respect to those criteria. Utilize evaluation methods discussed in class
(especially, Prof. White’s lectures on policy evaluation and energy markets) and the readings
as applicable; you may need to consult additional sources for details on the methods (your
Engineering Economics textbooks will come in handy here). In particular, pay attention to
the role of energy markets, associated risk factors, Benefit-Cost Analysis and other
approaches highlighted during lectures. Your boss is aware that you have limited resources
(time and budget) to complete your assignment. Therefore, she has asked that you consider a
two step evaluative approach consisting of the following; 1) Complete an “initial” analysis of
the alternatives based on information/data that you are able to obtain during the time frame of
the assignment (the analysis will likely be through applying some multi-attribute matrix
evaluation method), and 2) Provide concise and specific recommendations about how your
evaluation could be made more complete and additional evaluation methods that should be
utilized to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the alternatives (carefully consider
relevant methods and their applicability to the specific issue you are examining and justify
2
your selection of any methods i.e., no single method is applicable/the best choice for all
situations). For Part 1, we are expecting that you will obtain (and utilize) at least some data
(quantitative and qualitative) for your analysis. E.g., if cost data are not available for
alternatives for your issue directly, perhaps they are for other jurisdictions or perhaps
estimates can be made based on other sources. Some discussion of data availability/sources
you examined will likely be relevant to include in your appendices.
7) Governance issues: Identify the governance issues associated with the issue or project. To
what extent do the actors and stakeholders discussed in 3) above influence issue/project
governance? What are the roles of different government levels, international organizations,
NGOs, markets, etc?
8) Recommendations: Develop recommendations (based on your analysis above). Include next
steps that you recommend be taken.
9) References: Proper citation of sources is expected. Incomplete and poor referencing will be
penalized. In the body of the report, reference calls should be made when citing statistics,
presenting figures/tables borrowed from (and/or adapted from) others, statements reflecting
others’ opinions and conclusions, direct quotations, etc. References should be listed in
alphabetical order at the end of the report and according to an acceptable standard. Consult
with the TAs regarding any concerns about referencing.

While the assignment must be concise, the analysis should be thorough. Consider utilizing
appendices for presenting supporting information/analysis.

Key dates and deliverables (note that tutorial dates are subject to change)

January 15 Term project posted on BlackBoard

January 28 Finalization of groups and registration with Andrew Knox

February 14 Tutorial dedicated to group projects

March 4 Tutorial dedicated to group projects

March 11 Submission of Phase 1 of group projects (Parts 1-4 above)


This component is worth 40% of the project grade. The late penalty is 5% per day (based on
this phase of the project (i.e., not 5% of the entire project’s value). You are encouraged to
keep working on projects and not to stop and wait for the graded Phase 1 reports to be graded
and returned. You should, of course, modify this portion of the project based on TA
suggestions for the final submission.

March 28 Final submission of complete projects (including parts 1-4 with any updates/changes)