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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV1731U  The Energy Industry in Transition: Markets, Innovation and Strategies

English Title
The Energy Industry in Transition: Markets, Innovation and Strategies

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Christian Erik Kampmann - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Office hours: Friday from 13.00 to 15.00, Room KL.3.64.
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Strategy
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
In formulating the synopsis and in discussions during the oral exam, the student should demonstrate
  • Broad knowledge of important substantive problem areas in the energy transition, as listed in the course description.
  • Basic knowledge of the theoretical frameworks encountered in the course, as listed in the course description.
  • .An ability to critically assess and select several of these frameworks and apply them in an interdisciplinary manner to a problem they choose within energy transition, either from a public or private perspective.
  • An awareness of how other theoretical frameworks from the course may be relevant to the chosen problem.
Course prerequisites
The course is open to students in the CBS EBA M.Sc. program or equivalent. Some prior exposure to business strategy and innovation is an advantage but not required. Knowledge of microeconomics commensurate with a B.Sc. in business administration is expected. No technical knowledge of energy and power systems is required.
The Energy Industry in Transition: Markets, Innovation, and Strategies:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of
2 students 5 pages max.
3-4 students 10 pages max.

Students who wish to have an individual exam might be able to write a term paper in the course. Please see the cand.merc. rules for term papers for more information.
Assignment type Synopsis
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam. If a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group synopsis, they do not have to submit a new product for the re-take exam. If a whole group fails the oral exam, they must hand in a revised synopsis for the re-take.. If one student in the group fails the oral exam, the course coordinator chooses whether they will be allowed to use the same synopsis, or the must hand in a new synopsis for re-take exam.
Description of the exam procedure

Groups are invited to give a brief 5 min. presentation of the problem and theoretical frameworks chosen for the synopsis and an indication of what different insights into the problem or implications for business or public policy may be gained by applying the chosen theories to the problem.  Students will then be asked individually to further explain these problems, theories, and implications.  During this questioning part, they may also be asked to account briefly for other theories from the course and how they might prove relevant for the case.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Energy is essential for the functioning of modern economies, yet at the same time, CO2 emissions from fossil-based energy use is by far the largest contributor to global warming. In a Danish context, energy products and services and carbon-reducing energy technologies such as wind turbines, district heating, and insulation, account for a significant proportion of our exports (105,2 BDKK, or 11,3% of exports in 2021[1]) and employs about 73,000 persons[2]). To ensure a sustainable future, the entire system of energy production and consumption will have to be transformed in the decades ahead from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Transportation systems will have to be electrified to substitute renewable energy for fossil-based fuels. The electrical grid, storage systems, and consumption will have to be re-designed to accommodate for intermittent sources of power like wind and solar energy. Energy generation will increasingly become distributed among many suppliers, from large, centralized power plants to individual “prosumers”.  Enormous investments are required in conversion and sector coupling technologies, such as “Power-to-X”.  These changes represent both a huge challenge for society and an opportunity for private enterprise.

The purpose of this course is to give you a thorough insight into the energy industry, both from a private and public perspective.  You will be introduced to both existing and future technologies and an understanding of how the unique characteristics of the energy industry derive from the physical realities of these technologies.   Given the complex and multi-faceted nature of the energy transition, we will analyze it from different theoretical perspectives in an interdisciplinary manner.  Theories used include economics, business- and innovation strategy, finance, life cycle assessment, and consumer behavior.

The content of the course is very concrete, as we will involve practitioner guest lecturers and arrange field visits to power plants, waste treatment plants, experimental engineering labs, and other relevant sites.

Specific problem areas covered are

  • The overall challenges and opportunities we face in the transition to a sustainable energy system, particularly the large-scale conversion to renewable energy technologies.
  • Recent developments in energy technologies and associated costs.
  • The environmental, social, and economic consequences of these technologies and the tradeoffs between them.
  • The systemic and complex nature of energy transition and the uncertainty and controversy this gives rise to.
  • How outcomes are affected by consumer behavior.
  • The roles of policy making and market design at the local, national, and supra-national levels.
  • The challenges of financing energy-related ventures and investments.
  • The implications for business strategy and decision making.

Theoretical frameworks employed are

  • Economics of energy production, transmission, distribution, storage, and consumption.
  • Economics and functioning of power markets and ancillary services.
  • Economic theories underlying regulation and deregulation of energy markets and greenhouse gas emissions, and how real-life regulation is affected by politics.
  • Consumer choice theory.
  • The principles and real-life complexities of life cycle assessments and carbon accounting.
  • The dynamics and associated business strategies of innovation, technology life cycles, transitions, and platforms.
  • Investments and strategy making under uncertainty.
  • Basic principles of finance and how they relate to energy ventures and investments.

Nordic Nine areas that the course addresses

  • N1: You have deep business knowledge placed in a broad context.  The course provides a deep knowledge of the energy industry, placed in the broader context of the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. 
  • N2: You are analytical with data and curious about ambiguity. It reveals the complexities and uncertainties of this transition and its environmental consequences
  • N3: You recognize humanity’s challenges and have the entrepreneurial knowledge to help resolve them.  It outlines in concrete terms the challenge of the transition as well as the opportunities it raises for new business
  • N5: You understand ethical dilemmas and have the leadership values to overcome them.  It highlights the tradeoffs in different solutions to bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and how they are ultimately guided by political values.
  • N6: You are critical when thinking and constructive when collaborating. Through its interdisciplinary approach to the problems, it encourages critical reflection of the different theoretical perspectives and their strengths and limitations.
  • N7: You produce prosperity and protect the prosperity of next generations. It will enable participants to create value for businesses while at the same time contributing to the transition to a sustainable energy system.

[1] Source: Danish Federation of Energy Industries, hhtps://www.danskindustri.dk/brancher/di-energi/analysearkiv/brancheanalyser/2022/eksport-af-energiteknologi--og-service-2021/

[2] Source: Danish Federation of Energy Industries, https://www.danskindustri.dk/brancher/di-energi/rapporter-og-holdninger/Analyser-og-branchetal/

Description of the teaching methods
The course will combine lectures, in-class discussions, and guest presentations by practitioners from the energy industry and related public sector authorities. Sessions may be conducted online if required by Covid-19 restrictions. In addition, optional field trips will provide a concrete impression of how the energy system works in real life.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is provided indirectly during interactive class discussions. Deeper feedback is available during office hours, where students are encouraged to engage in more in-depth conversations with the teacher
Student workload
Class attendance (including field classes and guest lectures) 33 hours
Miniproject + oral exam 80 hours
Reading, preparation 93 hours
Further Information

The course is part of the Minor in in Energy Economics and Policy.  If the course is oversubscribed, students enrolling in this minor will be given priority.  There will inevitably be some limited overlap with the other courses in the Minor with respect to frameworks and topics.

Expected literature
  • Afuah, A.N.  and J.M.  Utterback (1997) Responding to Structural Industry Changes: A Technological Evolution Perspective, Industrial and Corporate Change, 6 (1): 183-202, 19 pp.  EBSCO Host, AN 11579992.
  • Background reading: Shilling, M.A.  (2017). Strategic Management of Technological Innovation, 5th edition, New York: McGraw-Hill.  Ch. 2-5.
  • BNEF (2021), Energy Transition Investment Trends.  Summary.  https:/​/​assets.bbhub.io/​professional/​sites/​24/​Energy-Transition-Investment-Trends_Free-Summary_Jan2021.pdf
  • Courtney, H., J. Kirkland, and P. Viguerie (1997): Strategy under uncertainty, Harvard Business Review, November-December, pp. 197-218. (12 p.)  http:/​/​esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/​login?url=http:/​/​search.ebscohost.com/​login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=9711071077&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  • Day, GS; Schoemaker, PJH (2011) Innovating in Uncertain Markets: 10 Lessons for Green Technologies.  MIT Sloan Management Review 52(4): 37-45.  9 pp. Download from http:/​/​sloanreview.mit.edu/​files/​saleable-pdfs/​52411.pdf.
  • Economist (2018).  Royal Dutch Shell tries to reckon with climate change. https:/​/​www.economist.com/​business/​2018/​12/​08/​royal-dutch-shell-tries-to-reckon-with-climate-change
  • Eisenmann, T., G. Parker and M.W. van Alstyne (2006), Strategies for Two-Sided Markets, Harvard Business Review, October: 92- 101. 10 pp.  EBSCO host AN 22316862.
  • Gawer and Cusumano (2008), How Companies Become Platform Leaders, Sloan Management Review, Winter: 28-35.  8 pp.  Download via EBSCO Host, AN 28452300.
  • Ghosh and Nanda (2010) Venture Capital Investment in the Clean Energy Sector, Working paper 11-020, Harvard Business School.  (22 pp.)  EBSCO Host, AN 67399185.
  • Goldstein, N., Cialdini, R.B.; Griskevicius, V. (2008) A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels.  Journal of Consumer Research 35(3):  472–82 (12 pp.).  EBSCO Host, AN 34412781.
  • Grant, RM (2016). Contemporary Strategy Analysis, 9th edition, Wiley.  (If you need to brush up on basic concepts of strategy).
  • Griffin, J. M., and S. L. Puller. (2005) Introduction:  A Primer on Electricity and the Economics of Deregulation, in Electricity Deregulation: Choices and Challenges, University Of Chicago Press.  Source: Uploaded PDF.
  • Hoffmann, V.H., Trautmann, T. and Hamprecht, J. (2009). Regulatory uncertainty: A reason to postpone investments? Not necessarily. Journal of Management Studies 46 (7), November, pp. 1227-1250 (23 p.) http:/​/​esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/​login?url=http:/​/​search.ebscohost.com.esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/​login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=44218321&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  • Holland SP, Hughes JE, Knittel CR, Parker NC. (2015). Some Inconvenient Truths about Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies. Review of Economics & Statistics, 97(5):1052-1069. doi:10.1162/REST_a_00452
  • Longer introduction to the grid and smart grids: https:/​/​www.youtube.com/​watch?v=nJ-eBqEnraE
  • Makovich L. The Electric Power Industry’s Missing Money Problem, note, Foreign Affairs. 2015;94(2):138E.  Source: EBSCO Host, AN 100961116.
  • McInerney, C., & Bunn, D. W. (2019). Expansion of the investor base for the energy transition. Energy Policy, 129, 1240–1244 (5 pp.) EBSCO Host, AN 135931755.
  • McKinsey (2017) Battery storage: The next disruptive technology in the power sector.  6 pp.
  • MIT Energy Initiative (2016) The utility of the future, report (executive summary) 4 pp.
  • Nordhaus W. (2010). Designing a friendly space for technological change to slow global warming. Energy Economics. 2011;33(4):665-673. doi:10.1016/j.eneco. 2010.08.005
  • Perloff (2012) Exhaustible resources, Section 16.3 in Microeconomics, 7th edition, Pearson, p. 570-577, 8 pp.  Source: Uploaded PDF.
  • Podcast Energy Transition Show (2017): [Episode #59] - Lifecycle Assessment.  https:/​/​xenetwork.org/​ets/​episodes/​episode-59-lifecycle-assessment/​
  • Podcast: Energy Transition Show (2020) Energy Basics Parts 4-6 – Electricity, Generation and Grid Management.  https:/​/​xenetwork.org/​ets/​episodes/​episode-126-energy-basics-parts-4-5-6/​
  • Podcast: Energy Transition Show (2020) Energy Basics Parts 7-9 – The Electricity Business and Power Markets.  https:/​/​xenetwork.org/​ets/​episodes/​episode-128-energy-basics-parts-7-8-9/​
  • Podcast: Energy transition show (2021).  Making Climate Policy Work.  https:/​/​xenetwork.org/​ets/​episodes/​episode-141-making-climate-policy-work/​
  • Porter, M; Kramer, MR (2006). Strategy & Society - The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility.  Harvard Business Review. EBSCO Host, AN 23081414.
  • Reinhardt, F.L. (1999): Bringing the Environment Down to Earth, Harvard Business Review, July-August: 149-157. 8 p. EBSCO Host, AN 1980088.
  • RMI (2015) The economics of battery energy storage (executive summary), Rocky Mountain Institute report.  6 pp.
  • RMI (2015) The economics of demand flexibility (executive summary), Rocky Mountain Institute report.  9 pp.
  • RMI (2015) The economics of grid defection (executive summary), Rocky Mountain Institute report.  4 pp.
  • RMI (2015) The economics of load defection (executive summary), Rocky Mountain Institute report.  13 pp.
  • Rosenberg, N. (1995).  Why technology forecasts often fail, The Futurist, July-August, pp. 17-21 (5 p.)   http:/​/​esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/​login?url=http:/​/​search.ebscohost.com/​login.aspx?direct=true&db=afh&AN=9507191471&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  • Rotman, D. (2012) Can Energy Startups Be Saved? Technology Review May/June 2012.  (on-line version) (3 pp.) Download from http:/​/​www.technologyreview.com/​review/​427665/​can-energy-startups-be-saved/​.
  • Sartzetakis ES. (2021). Green bonds as an instrument to finance low carbon transition. Economic Change & Restructuring 54(3):755-779.  Source: EBSCO Host, AN 51584231.
  • Schmalensee, R. (2012) Note on the economics of energy demand.  Teaching note, Sloan School of management.  Source: Uploaded PDF.
  • Schoemaker, P.H. (1995).  Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking.  Sloan Management Review.  36(2): 25-40. 
  • Short simple introduction to how the grid works: https:/​/​www.youtube.com/​watch?v=1dZjohZPIqE
  • Sterman (2018) Hold on – is burning biomass bad for the climate?  Energy World, May 2018: 29-31.  https:/​/​mitsloan.mit.edu/​shared/​ods/​documents?PublicationDocumentID=4581
  • Svoboda, S (1995) Note on Life Cycle Analysis. Note. Univ. of Michigan. http:/​/​websites.umich.edu/​~nppcpub/​resources/​compendia/​CORPpdfs/​CORPlca.pdf
  • Thøgersen, J. (2017). Housing-related lifestyle and energy saving: A multi-level approach. Energy Policy, 102, 73–87. (15 pp.)  EBSCO Host, AN 121453496.
  • Thøgersen, J. (2018). Frugal or green? Basic drivers of energy saving in European households. Journal of Cleaner Production, 197, 1521-1530. (10 pp.)  Download from https:/​/​www.sciencedirect.com/​science/​article/​pii/​S0959652618319413
  • Thøgersen, J.; Grønhøj, A. (2010). Electricity saving in households - A social cognitive approach, Energy Policy, 38, 7732-7743.  EBSCO Host, AN 54608343.
Last updated on 15-02-2023