Economics of the Clean Energy Transition

The transition to a clean energy economy is well on its way. But it is far from clear that the world’s economies will complete this transition in the time left to address the problem of carbon emissions and climate change. Business leaders, policy makers and the general public generally seek a lower carbon footprint but struggle to agree on a timely and cost effective pathway to decarbonization.

This course examines the economics of competing energy resources from the perspective of corporate investors and households who will adopt clean energy solutions only if it is in their self-interest. Learn how to compare alternative energy systems that require vastly different capital expenditures and ongoing operating costs. Evaluate the role of public policy instruments including taxes, regulations, and incentives in accelerating the transition away from traditional fossil fuels. Real-world case studies illustrate the issues faced by decision makers.

Coursework includes short videos, online exercises and a quick knowledge check at the end.

  • Assess the cost of competitiveness of different energy technologies today and the prospects for future cost reductions
  • Recognize the role markets and public policy plays in addressing the problem of carbon emissions
  • Compare the cost of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage against fossil fuels
  • Calculate the cost for energy projects using a Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and the Levelized Cost per Mile Driven (LCOMD) using online calculators
  • Understand the changing business model of utilities and the evolving role of public policy

Course Page
Online, self-paced
6 hours
Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Program
Stanford School of Engineering