Core Courses Content

Core Course Content

The core courses of the CBEY Certificate in Financing and Deploying Clean Energy run sequentially, from August through May. They include Clean Energy Policy, Technology Transitions, Renewable Energy Project Finance, and Innovation.

A broad description of the curriculum is available below and week by week themes and learning objectives for the core are available for download here.

Clean Energy Policy

This course, led by Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and former Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Dan Esty, examines the policies that hinder or support the financing and deployment of clean energy.

Because energy is a highly regulated market, policy plays a large role in shaping the transition to a clean energy economy.

At its best, effective policy promotes a sustainable energy future by encouraging innovation and leveling the playing field for all fuels to compete fairly. Poorly designed policy, even if well-intentioned, can have the opposite result.

This class will explore how policy is made and what makes it successful through examining the current regulatory framework, energy policy history, and case studies.

The course will focus in particular on how policy is responding and should respond to key disruptions in the energy field, such as the rise of distributed generation, the impact of fracking on fossil fuels and renewables, and a global focus on reducing carbon emissions.

Technology Transitions

This course, led by Director of Energy Studies at Yale Michael Oristaglio, aims at exploring energy models and the technological and economic challenges to the clean energy transition. 

The transition from the entrenched fossil fuel economy is fraught with obstacles that require deep systems knowledge to navigate. Moving along a pathway to a low carbon future means understanding which technologies are available, how they work, and what their limitations are.

Coal, oil, and natural gas currently account for 85% of the world’s primary energy use. The environmental and social consequences of such a combustion-driven power regime have led the world to begin remaking its energy system radically and at an unprecedented rate.

This course will examine technological transitions, current and incoming energy technologies, the structure of the utility grid and how it will fare with integrating new technologies and increasing demand, as well as the socio-behavioral insights that influence buildings, transport, materials, and energy storage.

Renewable Energy Project Finance

This course, led by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Lecturer and private equity investor Daniel Gross, examines how renewable energy projects are developed under project financing structures. 

Project financing refers to a type of structured non-recourse or limited recourse financing that has traditionally been used for long-term and large-scale infrastructure projects. This course will delve into the foundational principles of project finance from both the perspective of the renewable energy investor as well as the developer.

We will take a closer look at the challenges inherent to financing renewable energy projects whose cashflows stem from the sale of intermittent power through power purchase agreements and teach students how to analyze risks, structure a transaction, read legal documentation derived from real projects, and build financial models. 

This course will provide students with an opportunity to examine real-world project documentation, including engineering reports and contracts. Students will understand the framework in which cashflows can be securitized and lenders are willing to lend, and how the physical risks associated with renewable energy projects can be better allocated and incorporated into financial models.   


This course, led by Yale School of Management Lecturer, Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York State, and Chair of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Board Richard Kauffman, will examine what innovative models can be pursued to accelerate the clean energy transition. 

Despite the meteoric rise of some renewable technologies like solar, financial markets have been relatively slow to react to the call for a clean economy transition. This cautious response is in part due to a lack of standardized commercial arrangements, insufficient performance data, misperceptions of risk, and lack of access to secondary capital markets, which together increase the cost of capital.

In addition, technological challenges associated with the intermittency of distributed energy resources, storage, and grid integration are seen as significant barriers to investment.

After being introduced to the lifecycle of innovation, students will hear from a range of experts about what technological solutions are required or being developed (e.g., smart grids, blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer energy trading, demand response technology, IoT, dynamic EV charging), what role the government and businesses can play in building them (e.g., green investment banking), and the financial tools that can support scaling (e.g., green bonds and securitization).