Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

270.7 sec. 001 - Renewable Energy Law and Policy (Spring 2020)

Instructor: Michael Mathai-Jackson  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 2

Due to COVID-19, law school classes were graded as credit/no pass in spring 2020.


    Th 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
    Location: Law 244
    From January 16, 2020
    To April 24, 2020

Course Start: January 16, 2020
Course End: April 24, 2020
Class Number: 31981

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 13
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 16
As of: 06/16 11:02 PM

Public policies seeking to transform energy systems to utilize more renewable forms of energy have created a highly dynamic and exciting body of law. The goal of the course is to gain sufficient familiarity with applicable statutes, regulations, regulatory agency decisions, and other technical or policy information to enable students to advocate effectively before regulatory agencies and legislative bodies on issues related to renewable energy.

This is fundamentally an experiential learning course. Thus, the focus will be not only on understanding the legal foundations of renewable energy law but also developing the practical advocacy and drafting skills that are necessary to participate in regulatory forums as a lawyer.

Students are expected to be already familiar with the basic physical and regulatory design of the U.S. energy system (through, e.g., having worked in the energy industry or taken other basic energy law or policy coursework), or to develop this familiarity independently through recommended reading. We will begin this course by considering renewable energy's specific role within the larger energy system, including gaining a high-level understanding of the entire renewable energy development process and the important role of transmission. Next, we will review dominant forms of renewable energy with a goal of understanding the relative advantages and drawbacks of each.

The heart of the course will be an in-depth examination of various renewable energy promotion policy alternatives, including reviewing laws and regulations associated with each type of policy. These will include: Feed-in tariffs; renewable portfolio standards; auction mechanisms; community solar programs (solar community gardens); net energy metering programs; tax incentives; direct public subsidy programs; loan guarantee programs; research and development programs; and direct public procurement programs. Although case studies will predominantly focus on California, we will end this segment of the course with a comparative review of renewable energy policies adopted in selected other countries.

Time permitting, the course will also cover: interconnection and grid integration issues associated with renewables; regulatory review of renewable power purchase agreements; environmental and social justice considerations with renewable energy; and biofuels.

Student grades will be based upon participation in classroom discussion, performance in legal skill development exercises (e.g., mock hearings, workshops, brief/comment drafting, presentations, legislative drafting), and a final exam consisting of a take-home final.

Students from other U.C. Berkeley graduate departments may apply to take this course with the instructor's permission. Note: Non-law students cannot be granted enrollment until the Law's Add/Drop deadline, which is two weeks after the start of class. Non-law students are required to attend the first class, unless the student has the instructor's prior permission not to attend. Non-Law students will not be enrolled in the course unless there are open seats available and no waitlist.

Grady Mathai-Jackson has practiced within the fields of energy and environmental law since 2003. He has taught Renewable Energy Law and Policy and Introduction to Energy Law at Berkeley Law School, and he conducted independent comparative research on renewable energy integration policy in Germany in 2017. Mr. Mathai-Jackson currently represents Pacific Gas and Electric Company in regulatory proceedings, particularly those related to renewable energy and energy storage policy, legislation, planning, and compliance. Prior to PG&E, Mr. Mathai-Jackson practiced air pollution law for the United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region 9, was in private practice with Latham & Watkins LLP, and served as a Luce Scholar and visiting fellow at the Thailand Environment Institute.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend in order not to be dropped.

Although no prior coursework is required for enrollment, students are expected to have a basic understanding of the electricity sector and energy policy. The following courses are recommended as highly complementary to this course:

Law 270.6 - Energy Law and Policy
Law 270.65 - Energy Project Development & Finance

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Course Category: Environmental and Energy Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Simulation Courses

If you are the instructor or their FSU, you may add a file like a syllabus or a first assignment to this page.

A reader will be used in this class.

Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

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