Economics of the Clean Energy Transition


Stanford School of Engineering

Energy and Innovation: 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.

You will also gain access to exclusive energy calculators, such as:

  • Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) - Identifies the lifecycle cost of a unit of electricity for different technologies, locations, and market segments within the United States.
  • Levelized Cost of Miles Driven (LCOMD) - Identify and compare the performance, battery capacity, rebates, and mileage costs between various electric vehicle manufacturers (Toyota, BMW, Ford, VW, Nissan, Chevy, Kia and Hyundai)

What you will learn

  • Role of markets and public policy in addressing the problem of carbon emissions
  • How to assess the cost of competitiveness of different energy technologies today and the prospects for future cost reductions
  • How renewable energy compares to fossil fuels in terms of cost
  • Organizational changes in the electricity sector
  • The emergence of cost effective energy storage
  • Electrification of vehicles
  • The potential of carbon dioxide to become a resource in the future

Topics include

  • Carbon emissions and public policy
  • Cost analysis for energy projects
  • Comparing the cost of alternative energy sources
  • Changing business model of utilities
  • Energy storage
  • Sustainable transportation

This course is approximately 4.5 hours of video content with 1.5 hours of coursework.

Continuing Education Units

By completing this course, you’ll earn 0.5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU). CEUs cannot be applied toward any Stanford degree. CEU transferability is subject to the receiving institution’s policies.


  • $295 per online course


Please contact the Program Manager at

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Instructors: Stefan Reichelstein
Delivery Option:
Online Course $295.00

Course Access
60 day access to the online course starts upon payment. 

Course Materials
Course materials are available for download from the online videos page. All materials are available for printing and review upon enrollment.

Final Exam:
Online participants are asked to complete a final exam at the end of each course to maintain the integrity of the program. A score of 85% must be achieved to successfully pass the exam. A digital record of completion will be emailed to participants when they pass the exam.

Course Evaluation:
It is required that participants complete the course evaluation once they have passed the final exam.

This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.