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Yale Centers Launch New Certificate Program on Clean and Equitable Energy Development

New program aims to bring the advantages of clean energy development to marginalized communities.

In a concerted effort to advance equity and justice within the energy sector, the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) and the Yale Center for Environmental Justice (YCEJ), have combined efforts to launch a new certificate program aimed at bringing the advantages of clean energy development to marginalized communities. 

The first of its kind in the market, the Yale Clean and Equitable Energy Development Certificate Program, commonly referred to as CEED, is taught by a combination of Yale faculty and field experts. The program condenses a wealth of knowledge into just 12 weeks of learning, covering foundational energy concepts, environmental and climate justice, diverse approaches to energy justice, and the practical aspects of energy project development. 

Developed in collaboration between CBEY and YCEJ, the program is specifically designed to upskill long-time and burgeoning professionals within the clean energy field to better participate in a Just Energy Transition.  The Certificate is also designed to help individuals and organizations from frontline or disadvantaged communities move into the driver's seat of their own clean energy transition. 

As Stuart DeCew, Executive Director at CBEY, shared, “the CEED program is about building constellations out of stars.”  

“We are creating a network of community organizers, energy professionals, local leaders, policymakers, and capital providers to unlock the full potential of the clean energy sector. We aim to equip these individuals with the tools and knowledge to drive impact while we build a collaborative community of like-minded optimists around them. The energy transition will be just and equitable when these folks are united by a shared language, an understanding of our systemic problems, and a common cause to address them.” DeCew continued. 

According to Coral Bielecki, Online Programs Director at CBEY, the program was developed to “meet the needs and the opportunities of the moment.” 

From the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Justice40 initiative within the U.S., to the development and operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, globally, these investments underscore the critical necessity for systemic transformation within the energy sector to tackle issues of equity and justice. As shared by program organizers, these initiatives emphasize the pressing need for change and demonstrate a steadfast commitment to addressing these imperative needs.  

"This moment provides unique opportunities for marginalized communities and individuals to reclaim their rightful place in the clean energy transition," emphasized Michel Gelobter, Executive Director at Yale Center for Environmental Justice. "Through CEED we hope to not only equip learners with the tools and knowledge to address systemic injustices but also to set them up to successfully access the funds and resources available to them.” 

Despite these significant investments and policy developments, the industry still faces a critical skills gap, and unlike existing training programs, CEED focuses explicitly on integrating equity into the design and execution of clean energy projects.  

"We cannot expect clean energy to be equitable unless equity is integrated from the beginning of the conception and design of a project,” shared Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice at Yale School of the Environment and faculty member with CEED. 

The CEED program aims to bridge this divide by providing professionals and burgeoning professionals with the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of clean energy project development while prioritizing equity and justice.  

“The CEED experience is dedicated to cultivating a supportive network that empowers initiatives aimed at achieving a just energy transition and advocates for frontline and disadvantaged communities, ensuring that projects are carried out without causing harm,” shared Claudia Ochoa, Program Manager, Equitable Energy at Yale School of the Environment. 

Applications open on April 10th. The program is currently seeking a wide variety of applicants including but not limited to: working professionals looking for opportunities to change energy systems; advocates and community leaders motivated by creating job opportunities, protecting local communities, and promoting equitable energy systems; policymakers who want to take advantage of opportunities for change at the local, state, and federal levels, globally; and more. 

The program welcomes individuals most impacted by climate change, or other forms of discrimination and exclusion within the global clean energy sector. Whether you're looking to lead clean energy initiatives, advocate for policy change, or create positive change in your community, CEED offers a unique opportunity to make a tangible impact. 

In a world grappling with the intersecting challenges of climate change and social inequality, initiatives like the CEED Certificate Program represent a critical step towards building a more just and sustainable future. You can learn more about the CEED program here