University of Technology Sydney

49026 Electricity Sector Planning and Restructuring

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Engineering: Information, Systems and Modelling
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Electricity sector planning is a major and integral aspect of overall energy planning and policy. This subject aims to develop an understanding of the nature, characteristics and methods of electricity sector planning.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Describe the nature and characteristics of electricity sector planning
2. Explain basic concepts, principles and methods for planning electricity systems from technocratic and political/institutional perspectives;
3. Contribute to the debate on electricity industry reforms (restructuring, privatization) – models of reform, market design, regulatory and industry ownership issues; and
4. Analyse and critically appraise contemporary issues in electricity sector planning and policy formulation.

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is offered in block mode, involving three (two-day each) modules, spread over a 12-week session.

Each block follows a similar structure, in that students are required to access pre-class review of subject reading/viewing material on UTSOnline. The material is designed to enable students to engage in meaningful discussions in class. Communication is integral to each class and the pre-reading material informs these conversations.

In class, students will have a formal lecture to re-assess understanding of concepts and methods and their applications exercises provide opportunities for developing an understanding of concepts and methods relevant to the subject. They also provide opportunities for critical evaluation of presented information. Assignments are issued in each Block and are to be handed in before the next Block so that verbal feedback and relevant examples can be provided to guide each Block. Each Block follows an assignment and feedback, hence increasing understanding and increased opportunity for feedback. The assignments are designed to test students’ ability to apply concepts and methods in specific contexts, analyse policy trade-offs and, develop constructive critique. Quizzes are designed to assess knowledge and understanding of subject content. By completing these before each Block, students will receive verbal feedback on their progress in the following Block.

Content (topics)

1. Electricity sector planning: An overview

  • Objectives of planning
  • Evolution of planning
  • Inter- and intra-sectoral linkages
  • Nature and characteristics
  • Planning perspectives and methodologies
  • Temporal dimensions
  • Environmental and sustainability issues
  • Sectoral vs. industry-specific planning

2.Frameworks for electricity sector planning

  • Technocratic
  • Political and Institutional

3. Technocratic framework for planning

  • Nature and characteristics
  • Conceptual foundations
  • Reliability
  • Load-Capacity interactions
  • Production costing
  • Capacity expansion planning
  • Evaluation of sectoral investments

4. Electricity Sector Restructuring

  • Evolution of electricity industry
  • Drivers and rationale
  • Models of industry structure – features, workings
  • Regulatory issues

5. Electricity Sector Ownership

  • The ownership debate
  • Electricity sector productivity
  • Models of industry ownership
  • Future directions

6. Selected Topics

  • Electricity markets: Physical and Financial markets
  • Market trading arrangements
  • Environmental issues in planning
  • Planning under alternative industry structures
  • Institutional and regulatory issues in planning
  • Political and Social Dimensions

7. Case studies and applications

  • Australian & international experiences


Assessment task 1: Assignment 1

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%

Assessment task 2: Quiz 1

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Assessment task 3: Assignment 2

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%

Assessment task 4: Quiz 2

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Assessment task 5: Assignment 3

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

Assessment task 6: Class Participation

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.

Required texts

None prescribed. A list of selective lecture notes, journal articles and other readings is provided below.


Gan, D. and Feng, D. (2014), Electricity markets and power system economics, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Gelling, C W and Chamberlin, J H (1993) Demand-Side Management Planning, The Fairmont Press, Lilburn, GA.

International Atomic Energy Agency (1984) Expansion Planning for Electrical Generating Systems: A Guidebook, IAEA, Vienna.

Isser, S. (2015), Electricity restructuring in the United States: markets and policy from the 1978 Energy Act to the present, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.

Kahn, E (1988) Electric Utility Planning and Regulation, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Munasinghe, M (1990) Electric Power Economics: Selected Works, Butterworths, London.

Sioshansi, F P and Pfaffenberger, W, eds. (2006) Electricity Market Reform: An International Perspective, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.

Stoft, S (2002) Power System Economics, IEEE Press, Wiley-Interscience, New York.

Stoll, H G (1989) Least-Cost Utility Planning, John Wiley, NY.