Skip to main content
Sign In

Better than an Energy MBA; get your MS in Global Energy Management (MS), University of Colorado Denver Business School, offering Bachelor, MBA, MS, and PhD degrees

Business School, University of Colorado Denver

Free Energy Course (MOOC)

Global Energy Management: Free Energy Course


Electric Utilities Fundamentals and Future – Registration now open!

This course was created to give learners the basic understanding of how the electric utility industries’ technical, regulatory and structural history shapes the development and distribution of electrical power. Course lectures will address how utilities are generated through fossil fuels or renewables; how utility rates are priced and governed; industry background and hurdles; and what is to come in the future. 

Course Structure

Week 1 - Taking Shape and Grid Fundamentals 
  • We kick off this course with a look at how the electric utility industries' technical, regulatory and structural history continues to shape how we receive electricity today. You'll follow electricity from how utilities generate it by using fossil fuels or renewables to how it is delivered to your home or business. And, you'll learn there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the electricity we all depend on.
Week 2 - Price and Value
  • From generating electricity through various primary fuel sources to transmission and distribution, we know there is value in the grid itself. At the same time, this value is not necessarily obvious to customers. In this module, we'll learn how rates are determined and governed. We will also review different types of utilities as we explore pricing and value together.
Week 3 - Not Your Grandparent's Utility
  • You've invested time in learning the basic blocking and tackling in this industry. This foundation will be important as we examine how this industry is evolving. With this information under your belt, you can knowledgeably evaluate the various options and choices you will have in the future and can weigh in with an informed opinion on some of the most pressing and even controversial topics today.
Week 4 - Pace of Change, Technology and Regulation
  • Arguably, the electric utility industry is moving at a pace faster than ever seen before in its century-old history. Customer expectations and evolving technology will continue to drive this evolution. While many may express frustration that the pace of change is too slow, the existing regulatory structure and customer requirements around affordability and reliability mean that there is little room for error. We will explore the regulatory framework at a federal, state and local level and touch on some of the global trends in this area as well. We will tackle some of the more controversial topics, including potential overlap between federal and state regulatory accountabilities. The information you glean from this module will help you form more holistic and knowledgeable opinions as you watch this industry continue to unfold.
Week 5 - Toward a Bright Future
  • Over the past four weeks together, we've learned that there is more than meets the eye in this industry. With its rich history, complex regulatory framework and dependency on natural resources we know that the decisions we make today will impact how future generations receive electricity over the next century. This module pulls together the information we've learned so far so we can think about what the future holds from a place of knowledge. We'll look at what industry insiders consider the biggest hurdles and opportunity areas and hypothesize about what shifts might occur. In this final module, armed with your newfound knowledge, I'm going to ask you to connect the dots and express your informed opinion. With that - let's jump on in!

Fundamentals of Global Energy Business – Enrollment is now open!

This course addresses the diversity and integration of primary energy markets. It also studies the essential considerations driving business leaders and policy makers in the development of global energy resources. Lectures emphasize those basic economic principles that provide a foundation for thinking about the broad range of interactions that occur in energy markets.

Currently, this is a self-paced course which allows the learner to study the material at his/her own pace. The GEM Program will offer an instructor-guided course in September 2015. Students can earn a Verified Certificate (see below) in both the self-paced and instructor-guided course.

Course Structure

Week 1 - Demand for Energy
    • Energy is the capacity to do work. In this most essential sense, energy is a basic human need. We will consider how technological innovations have increased the ability of mankind to do work, but only by increasing our demand for various sources of energy. We will examine the determinants of demand for primary energy resources as well as the distribution of demand around the globe.
Week 2 - Energy Supplies and Market Allocations
    • A broad range of primary resources are used to satisfy our need for energy. Accessing these resources depends on many factors, including available technologies and skills, and a number of political factors. We will address these factors as well as issues and trends in energy supply.
Week 3 - Key Capabilities for Energy Business - Fossil Fuels
    • A range of technological and commercial factors determine accessibility and utilization of conventional energy resources. These lectures review considerations essential to the development of various fossil fuel sources of energy, including coal, oil, gas, and shale gas.
Week 4 - Key Capabilities for Energy Business - Alternative Resources
    • A range of technological and commercial factors determine accessibility and utilization of unconventional energy resources. These lectures review considerations essential to the development of alternative sources of energy, including nuclear and various renewable resources.
Week 5 - Stakeholders and Political Considerations in the Energy Business
    • Energy enterprises engage in complex activities with far-reaching consequences. As a result, these activities often motivate to action a diverse set of stakeholders. We will examine the systemic nature of energy businesses and how their activities inevitably necessitate political engagement.
Week 6 - Strategic Analysis of Energy Business Opportunities
    • Frameworks for strategic analysis are useful for organizing the broad set of considerations necessary to achieve energy business objectives. These lectures introduce several rudimentary tools for strategic analysis and make use of those tools to evaluate the economic, commercial, and political environment of energy.


Course assignments
To successfully complete this course, students will need to take quizzes (which can be taken multiple times until material is mastered) and write an 800 word business memorandum that will be assessed by classmates. The memorandum will provide an analysis and/or recommendation for an energy business situation.

Get recognized for your achievement!

Students have the option of showcasing their success in the course with a Verified Certificate (cost is $49). A Verified Certificate is identity-linked and demonstrates that you completed this course. You can upload the certificate to your LinkedIn profile to make yourself more marketable to potential employers. The Verified Certificate is from both Coursera and the University of Colorado.



  • Most flexible – course assignments can be completed at student’s own pace
  • Does not have to be completed within a specific timeframe
  • Less engagement with instructor and other students


  • Less flexible – course assignments must be completed within two weeks for each module
  • Must be completed within the specified eight-week course offering

  • More engagement with instructor and other students

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.