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Energy Policy

In this Section

Points of Contact:

Dr. Stephen Bird, Humanities & Social Sciences

Dr. Alan RossnerDirector, Environmental Health Science (EHS) and Environmental Science and Policy Programs

Energy PolicyEnergy policy is the manner in which government (or sometimes another entity) decides to direct energy development: production, distribution and consumption. This can include legislation, international treaties, incentives to investment, market design, pure regulation, forecasting, and integration of renewable energy, guidelines for energy conservation and efficiency, taxation, planning, energy security, and other public policy concerns.

In the context of global climate change, the issues surrounding energy policy interact more than ever with the world’s environmental and economic decisions. Energy policy is key to the integration of sustainable technologies, especially with our current electric grid system. It directly drives our decisions concerning energy storage for renewables, and a plethora of other public policy choices that drive the sustainability incentives, fiscal policy, supply and demand, and reliability of our energy supply.

At Clarkson University, we integrate energy policy research with several of our courses, including Energy & Society, Creating Environmental Policy, Biofuel and Farm Policy, Intro to Environmental Science & Policy, Risk Analysis, Environmental Leadership, Environmental Law, and Environmental Policy.  For instance, students are studying the impact of energy policy in concert with the emissions of pollutants from transportation, power production of energy systems, and alternative fuels that may be linked to health effects or climate change. The focus is a holistic approach to integrating science and policy. 


  • Stephen Bird. HEPG Rapporteur’s Reports #39 – 54 (Rapporteur). Harvard Electricity Policy Group, Harvard University, May 2005 - present.
  • Stephen Bird. Review of  “Why Policy Issue Networks Matter: The Advanced Technology Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership,” by Paul Hallacher. Step Ahead (Newsletter of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Section, APSA), Spring 2006. Vol. 4, Issue 1, 11-12. 
  • Stephen Bird. RTO Governance: A Comparison of ISO Governance Structures in the US. Harvard Electricity Policy Group, April 2002.
  • Martin Heintzelman. “Putting Free-Riding to Work: A Partnership Solution to the Common-Property Problem,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Vol. 57, No. 3, May 2009  (with Stephen W. Salant and Stephan Schott).
  • Martin Heintzelman. “Electricity Restructuring: Consequences and Opportunities for the Environment,” The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2001/2002 (Tom Tietenberg and Henk Folmer, Editors), June 2002.  Edward Elgar: Northampton, MA (with Dallas Burtraw and Karen Palmer).
  • Rick Welsh. 2009. “Community Digester Operations And Dairy Farmer Perspectives” Agriculture and Human Values. (with Megan G. Swindal and Gilbert W. Gillespie)
  • Rick Welsh. 2006. “Does a problem-based learning approach to teaching conservation science and policy improve content knowledge and change attitudes?” Conservation Biology 20: 600-608. (with T. A. Langen)