Government policy is a critical factor in the understanding of energy markets. Governments create constraints and incentives that drive behavior through policy. In turn, these behaviors have fundamental impacts on the functioning of markets. Despite the critical role of policy, it is rarely approached systematically from a research perspective. One of the first and most basic steps in a systematic approach is gaining a precise understanding of what policies exist, their intended outcomes, their geographical extent, duration, and expected evolution. A systematic understanding of policy, with this level of detail, would enable the research community to answer a variety of questions that, for now, are either over-simplified or ignored. Policy, on its surface, is also a very unstructured and qualitative undertaking. There may be quantitative components, but policies are usually framed in sentences requiring interpretation of their meaning. This makes it difficult to incorporate an understanding of policy into quantitative approaches, other than by making assumptions as to the effect of policy in framing a quantitative model. The KAPSARC Energy Policy Database (KEPD) is intended to address these two energy policy research limitations. The methodology described in this paper could be applied to any set of energy policies, though this becomes a large task very quickly.
6th January 2015