• Class Number 6725
  • Term Code 3050
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • James Prest
    • James Prest
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 31/08/2020
  • Class End Date 23/10/2020
  • Census Date 11/09/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

The law relating to management of natural resources and for environmental protection has grown to become an established and important area of professional legal practice over the last twenty years. Energy law is an important branch of such practice. It governs the ownership, use, development and control of energy resources.

The Sustainable Energy Law course surveys the rapidly evolving field of renewable and clean energy law at both domestic and international levels. 

The course provides students with the opportunity to examine, explore and critique existing legal solutions to issues arising in energy markets, with the aim of enhancing the role of the law in addressing energy and climate change objectives.

This course examines the legal framework applying to renewable energy sources, not in isolation but in dynamic interrelationship with policies toward conventional fossil sources of energy.

Energy law is evolving in order to address the challenge of climate change. The importance of effective law and policy to encourage cleaner energy development has been underlined both by the most recent scientific warnings about the need to implement timely responses to global warming.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify and analyse the key concepts, principles and issues relating to development of sustainable energy including solar thermal, solar PV, wind, urban wind, ocean, biomass, and biogas;
  2. Explain and evaluate the regulatory framework for various types of renewable energy sources in Australia;
  3. Analyse the law within comparative and inter-disciplinary frameworks including resource and regulatory economics;
  4. Apply specific regulatory regimes and the broader framework of environmental and planning law to energy projects; and
  5. Research, critically examine and communicate in writing about a problem or specific aspect of sustainable energy law.

Required Resources

Links to the ebook below and other resources will be provided on Wattle:

Energy Law: an introduction./Raphael, J. Heffron.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Word length and excess word penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction and context
2 Renewable energy law in Australia
3 Renewable energy incentives 1 – Tradeable Certificates
4 Renewable energy incentives 2 – Feed in Tariffs
5 Impact of land use planning law and EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) law
6 Problem based learning exercise - Renewable Energy Litigation
7 Commercial law aspects of clean energy developments
8 The National Electricity Law and Rules
9 Energy Efficiency
10 Problem based learning exercise regarding NEL and energy efficiency and DSM
11 Technology-Specific issues and opportunities
12 Future of renewable energy law

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assessment overview 0 % * *
Individual Presentation within Group Panel to Class 10 % 25/09/2020 30/09/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Business/Organisational legal and risk management plan: 30 % 28/09/2020 12/10/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Legal Advice 60 % 19/10/2020 06/11/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Annotated Bibliography 30 % 28/09/2020 12/10/2020 5
Law Reform Briefing 60 % 19/10/2020 06/11/2020 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


For all courses taught in intensive mode, the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program and students are required to attend ALL classes (and all of each class).

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission by the Course Convenor, in consultation with the Stream Convenor or Director, LLM Program, to miss some classes, provided:

a.      it does not exceed a maximum of 25% of the classes;

b.      permission is requested in advance; and

c.       the request is supported, where appropriate, by adequate documentation.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in a student receiving the grade of NCN (non-complete fail). The normal pressures of work or planned personal trips do not constitute exceptional circumstances to justify an exemption from full compliance of this policy.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 

Assessment overview

The assessment in this course has been designed to cater for students with a legal as well as a policy focus. As a result there are two assessment tracks offered for this course:

  1. Legal Advice track - complete Tasks 2, 3 and 4.
  2. Law Reform track - complete Tasks 2, 5 and 6.

Students should choose whether they wish to do the legal advice track or the law reform track.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 25/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 30/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Individual Presentation within Group Panel to Class

Task: Prepare a presentation to the class on a specific topic within energy law by working in a group panel of 3. Topics will be posted on the course Wattle site and you will be required to sign up to a topic. Topics will be allocated on a first come first served basis. You will divide each topic amongst the group members, and individually present on your portion of the topic.

Purpose: Demonstrate your understanding of the legal aspects of the topic. To show deeper engagement with a topic in energy law, using case study examples where appropriate. To develop and demonstrate presentation skills.

Learning Objectives:

  • To encourage active learning and participation by students, during the intensive component of the course.
  • The panels will give students an opportunity to participate actively in discussion and exchange of ideas regarding the legal and policy issues raised by key readings on a given topic.
  • To give an opportunity to demonstrate oral argument - the capacity to communicate reasoned critical analysis of sources and data/arguments therein.

Detail of task:

A live online or uploaded pre-recorded presentation on your assigned topic.

This task involves individual presentations within a group panel. This means that small groups of 3 students, will meet (or e-meet) to prepare and then deliver a coordinated response to one of the course topics. Each group member is required to make a short presentation of work that is related to, but distinct from the other presentations.

Although there is coordination and discussion in the group, the work will be marked individually. 

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Non-redeemable.

Length: 10 minutes + 10 minutes discussion within a one hour block of three presentations.

Recording: Presentations will be recorded for the purpose of subsequent validation of marking.

Due date: Friday 25 September - 5pm.

Late work: Late submissions without an extension are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: Short feedback will be provided after the presentation by the lecturer. Brief written comments will be provided within 3 days.

Assessment criteria:

  • Logical Structure 
  • Clarity and explanatory ability
  • Content – Accuracy, focus and relevance 
  • Content – Critical engagement with topic and readings
  • Visual aids - effective use
  • Ability to engage/generate class discussion
  • Coherence of the paper in the group context
  • Evidence of having worked together as a group

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 28/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Business/Organisational legal and risk management plan:

Brief Description:

Imagine you are the legal adviser for a company, or government department, or NGO in the field of sustainable energy.

Write a risk management plan that is focused on legal obligations and potential business/organisational risks if legal issues are poorly managed.

Focus on energy and environmental approvals. Do not emphasise employment law or other risks that are peripheral to the core content.

The purpose is to write an overview of relevant legal risks. This is a scoping overview which aims to identify issues and briefly describe, and evaluate them.

This task differs from Item 4 (a detailed Legal Advice). There is to be no substantial overlap between work submitted for item 3 and 4.

Emphasise issues that the organisation is required by law to address, or approvals and authorisations that are required. Do not discuss market share risks or business strategy questions that might be classified as opportunity risks (i.e. the risk of missing an opportunity). The emphasis of the assessment task is on legal and regulatory issues.  

Learning objectives:

  • Ability to spot and identify legal issues, to describe the relevant law, and to suggest how these issues might be managed.
  • Develop skills of categorising legal issues, and to rank them in priority order of urgency and likelihood.
  • Written communication skills in the energy law context.

Nature of Task: Compulsory if you are doing the legal advice assessment track. Non-redeemable.

Length: 2000 words

Due date: 5pm Monday 28 September 2020 (one week after the intensive classes conclude).

Late work: Late submissions without an extension are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 12 October 2020 (Two weeks after submission).

Assessment Criteria:

  • Identifies relevant law
  • Analysis shows an understanding of the legal issues
  • Analysis shows an understanding of policy considerations
  • This will be an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the issues that arise from the knowledge gained during the online classes.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 19/10/2020
Return of Assessment: 06/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Legal Advice

Summary: Write a legal advice (or legal opinion) on a topic of your choice in the field of energy law as agreed with the lecturer.

This advice needs to cover the correct law, identify relevant facts, identify and articulate legal issues; apply legal reasoning to answer the legal questions posed, by making reasoned choices between options. The advice should apply the Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion format of problem-solving. A bibliography is not required, but footnoting of relevant authority to support each legal proposition is expected.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable for students who have chosen the legal advice assessment track.

Length: 3600 words

Due date: 5pm Monday 19 October 2020 (4 weeks after the intensive).

Late work: Late submissions will be subject to late penalties in accordance with COL policy.

Estimated return date: 6 November 2020 or when final results are released.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Identification of the material facts
  • Articulation of the key legal questions that need to be answered
  • Depth and breadth of coverage of the relevant law
  • Accuracy of legal points made including statutory interpretation
  • Reasoning, weighing up of competing legal arguments and interpretations
  • Chain of reasoning, logic and problem solving in the advice
  • Structuring and organisation of the advice
  • Accurate use of legal terminology in legal writing
  • Concise written English including use of plain English
  • Appropriate professional formatting of advice.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 28/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 5

Annotated Bibliography

Format: Prepare a select bibliography on a specific topic within energy law. Eight to ten sources (suggest 200-word discussion per source).

Purpose: This will be an opportunity to demonstrate research skills and the ability to be selective about which sources are selected.

Learning Objectives: To develop and demonstrate legal research skills with a focus on legislation, case law, and journal articles.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable for students doing the law reform assessment track.

Length: 2000 words

Due date: 5pm Monday 28 September 2020 (one week after the intensive classes conclude).

Late work: Late submissions without an extension are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 12 October 2020 (Two weeks after submission).

Assessment criteria:

  • Identifies sufficient relevant sources whilst including purposeful variety
  • Annotations provide intelligible summary of content of sources
  • Annotations provide evaluation of quality and reliability/independence of sources
  • Annotations sufficiently evaluate the relevance of selected sources to the topic
  • Annotations demonstrate some critical or analytical engagement and evaluation of current scholarship in the research field.
  • Compliance with AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation) 4th edition

Assessment Task 6

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 19/10/2020
Return of Assessment: 06/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Law Reform Briefing

Summary: Write a Law Reform Briefing on a topic of your choice in the field of energy law as agreed with the lecturer.

Purpose: The Briefing will provide students an opportunity to explore policy aspects of a topic in energy law in depth. Students can develop or build their skills in writing law reform documents. These have application in public and private sector workplaces. Public sector lawyers and legal policy officers are from time to time requested to write Law Reform briefing papers or similar documents (e.g. drafting instructions to Parliamentary Counsel). Private sector lawyers in larger firms from sometimes are called upon to write notes to summarise recent developments in the law, drawing attention to unresolved issues.

The aim is to enable students to apply their problem identification and solving skills, plus their creativity to suggest some proposals for reform of one particular sub-area of energy law. For example, students might examine how existing law protects or does not protect solar access, i.e. access to the sun for persons or corporations who have invested in renewable energy equipment.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable for students completing the law reform assessment track.

What to do: Choose a focused topic area and jurisdiction that falls within the boundaries of energy law. Research parts of the relevant law warranting review or reform. Use your case study to illustrate the need for reform. It is recommended that you ensure discussion in your briefing paper is tightly focused on one particular problem area of law.

The emphasis of the Briefing should be on analysis rather than advocacy. The paper should cite supporting evidence. It needs to include a Bibliography.

Intended audience: This task requires you to imagine that you are writing a briefing note for a decision maker or other plausible audience in government, a public sector agency, a private sector entity, or or an NGO.

Suggested parts:

  • problems or issues requiring attention;
  • the desired policy objective(s);
  • the options (regulatory and/or non-regulatory) which constitute viable means to achieve desired objective(s);

Length: 3600 words

Due date: 5pm Monday 19 October 2020 (4 weeks after the intensive).

Late work: Late submissions will be subject to late penalties in accordance with COL policy.

Estimated return date: 6 November 2020 or when final results are released.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Inclusion of suggested components of the briefing
  • Sets out relevant and applicable law
  • Accurate summary of effect of current law
  • Identifies the key policy issues; and main areas of uncertainty
  • Options for law reform (two or three) are set out
  • Arguments for/against selection of several options are weighed using evidence and logic
  • Briefing is tightly focused and well argued
  • Referencing of works referred to in the paper.

Expectations for Law Reform Briefing:

  • Students will be expected to demonstrate strong research and analytic skills. Research should cover primary and secondary materials, be wide-ranging, and critically selected. Excessive reliance on internet sources will be viewed dimly.
  • Students will be marked on their ability to articulate the core question in that area of energy law and explain the significance of that particular question;
  • Students will be expected to show a capacity to think and reason independently, not simply to describe the views of others;
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate their written communication skills by presenting a clearly written and structured paper.
  • It suggested that you do this by addressing the issues raised in by the core research question, by setting out the relevant law, by clearly presenting arguments and counter-arguments, setting out persuasive and logical reasoning, showing original thinking, ideas, analysis and conclusions.
  • A bibliography is a mandatory requirement and omission of this component will require the student to resubmit.
  • Double spacing is a mandatory requirement and failure to submit in this format will require the student to resubmit.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions