This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

This course provides insight into the international implications of the energy transition. To address this subject, the course introduces different theoretical points of view on the relationship between energy, political power and international affairs. On this basis, the course discusses several cases suited to explain the complex world of international energy politics. This discussion includes different actors, countries, geographical areas and governance structures: Energy exporters (e.g. Norway) and importers (e.g. the EU), rising nations like China, contested energy-producing regions such as the Arctic, and international agreements and organisations (e.g. the IEA). On this basis, the course explores the relationship between the energy transition and international energy politics and governance. In particular, the course explores the geopolitics of renewables, that is the impact of wind, solar, and bioenergy use on inter-state relations and the set of institutions and organisations that structure international transactions and politics in the field of energy.

Learning outcome

Learning outcomes:
After completing the course, the students have the following knowledge, skills and competencies:
In terms of knowledge, students will have insights into the following areas:
  • geopolitics and international relations theory
  • the role of energy in international politics
  • concepts and theories related to the subject of the course
  • energy politics in a number of geographical areas
  • the fragmented system of global energy governance
  • the impact of the energy transition on international affairs
  • controversies related to the on-going transition towards renewables

In terms of skills, students should be able to achieve the following:
  • description of different cases with an importance to the geopolitics of energy
  • description of theoretical concepts related to the geopolitics of energy
  • application of a (number of) perspective(s) to a given case
  • addressing various challenges with regard to global energy governance
  • showing an understanding of international environmental negotiations and governance
  • assessing the links between the geopolitics of energy the energy transformation
  • critically assessing and evaluating different energy- and environment-related policy measures
  • demonstrating an understanding of the range and substance of political and policy issues related to energy politics and energy security concerns

In terms of general competencies, students should be capable of:
  • formulating and expressing knowledge about problems associated with today's system of energy governance
  • formulating and communicating challenges associated with bringing energy systems in alignment with ecological limits
  • processing quantitative as well as qualitative data
  • making effective presentations
  • showing a good capacity for independent learning


This course focusses on the dynamic relationship between the energy transition and political relations at the international level, that is major changes in the energy system on the one hand and the structure of international politics on the other. The switch to fossil fuels and later nuclear energy represents a good example in this regard. This 'energy transition' implied a massive increase of power for individual human societies that was unseen until the middle of the 19th century. At the international level, these changes had significant repercussion. With a focus on policies and actions to secure energy supply, this course discusses the structure of today's international system, and analyses the role of energy in this context - its use, access to, and control over. This includes different geographical areas (e.g. Europe and Asia), forms of energy (e.g. oil and electricity), and theories such as energy security, (neo-)realism and (neo-)liberalism. Point of departure is the switch to fossil fuels and its effect on power relations between countries. Later, the course discusses the global transition to renewables and how it alters international relations. Being frontrunners of this latest energy transition, Europe and China stand in the focus of this part of the course.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
School exam1/14 hoursA - FDictionary.

Coursework requirements

Student assignments
Three short texts (300 words each) have to be submitted throughout the semester; dates will be announced at the beginning of the course.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Thomas Michael Sattich , Oluf Langhelle
Course teacher
Oluf Langhelle

Method of work

  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Group work
  • Student assignments
  • After-class study group to discuss individual texts and relevant issues in more detail

Open to

Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium
Change Management - Master's Degree Programme
Societal safety - Master's degree programme
Exchange programmes at UIS Business School
Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the evaluation system of the faculty.


Literatur will be published as soon as it has been prepared by the course coordinator/teacher

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

Sist oppdatert: 27.09.2020