Energy Institute at Haas

Energy and Environmental Markets

MBA212 / EWMBA212.1: Energy and Environmental Markets


INSTRUCTOR: Severin Borenstein


MEETING DAY(S)/TIME: Tuesday, 6:05-7:30pm and 8:15-9:30pm

PREREQUISITE(S): Microeconomics (MBA201A) or its equivalent.

CLASS FORMAT: Mixture of lectures and case discussions. The course follows the policy of no electronics in class.

REQUIRED READINGS: A packet of readings and case materials.


50% exams- in class quizzes and final exam 40% energy strategy games and writing assignments 10% class participation


In the past 35 years, some of the largest industries have transitioned from regulated to market-based paradigms.  Managers in many transportation, information technology, and energy companies have had to devise strategies to cope with changes in economic and environmental regulations and the evolution of new markets and trading platforms.  The energy industries feature a complex mix of regulation and market-driven incentives.  Over the last decade, industries that had previously been viewed as staid and conservative have been rocked by deregulation initiatives, the California electricity crises, the Enron scandal, rising commodity prices, and now the challenge to reduce greenhouse gases.

Drawing on the tools of economics and finance, we study the business and public policy issues that these changes have raised in energy markets. Topics include the development and effect of organized spot, futures, and derivative markets in energy; the political economy of deregulation; climate change, environmental policy and the emerging markets for green energy; market power and antitrust; and the transportation and storage of energy commodities. We examine the economic determinants of industry structure and evolution of competition among firms in these industries; investigate successful and unsuccessful strategies for entering new markets and competing in existing markets; and analyze the rationale for and effects of public policies in energy and environmental markets.


Severin Borenstein is E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the Haas School of Business.  He is also Director of the University of California Energy Institute.   He received his A.B. from U.C. Berkeley and Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T.  His research focuses on business competition, strategy, and regulation.  He has published extensively on the airline industry, the oil and gasoline industries, and electricity markets.  His current research projects include the economics of renewable energy, economic policies for reducing greenhouse gases, alternative models of retail electricity pricing, and competitive dynamics in the airline industry.  Borenstein is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA. He served on the Board of Governors of the California Power Exchange from 1997 to 2003. During 1999-2000, he was a member of the California Attorney General's Gasoline Price Task Force.  In 2010-11, Borenstein was a member of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's Future of Aviation Advisory Committee.  Since 2012, he has served on the Emissions Market Assessment Committee that advises the California Air Resources Board on the operation of California’s Cap and Trade market for greenhouse gases.