Global Energy Transitions and Climate Policy @ TU Wien


This course is part of the Master’s degree program in Environmental Technology & International Affairs held at the Technical University Vienna (TU Wien). The course is designed and delivered by Dr. Behnam Zakeri, including several lectures by guest speakers/lecturers.


The course offers a general overview on drivers of and barriers to global energy transitions. Governing principles of international energy markets are reviewed briefly, with a view on the geopolitics of energy transitions. The role of technological innovations, socio-behavioral dimensions, and economic/political perspectives are discussed. Some contemporary topics in global energy transitions, such as, energy access and poverty, and energy and digitalization are reviewed. The role of modeling and scenario development in energy and climate policy design is another topic of the course. International environmental and climate agreements are reviewed, with a view on successful examples and lessons learned. The course is multi-disciplinary, suitable for students with different backgrounds, including but not limited to engineering, science, economics, and politics.

Course material

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Lecture 1: Global energy resources and markets | pdf (2.4MB)

A short note on energy and development
World energy mix
Fossil energy resources and reserves
International energy markets

Lecture 2: Energy transitions: Societal and behavioral perspectives | pdf (2.0MB)

Energy poverty and justice
Societal and behavioural aspects of energy use
Climate change and behaviour
Digitalization and energy use

Lecture 3-1: Energy transitions: Technological perspectives | pdf (1.2MB)

Technological challenges in energy transitions
Solar PV as a successful example (see Lecture 3-2 for more details)
Transition in mobility: Electric vehicles
Energy storage systems (see Lecture 4 for more details)

Lecture 3-2: Energy innovation and energy transitions (by Dr. Kavita Surana) | pdf (9.8MB)

Technological change in the energy sector
Energy technology innovation process
Potentials and barriers of energy innovation
Global energy transitions: case of solar PV

Lecture 4: Integration of renewable energy sources: Energy storage systems | pdf (2.9MB)

Energy and climate change
Global trends in renewable energy
Potentials and challenges of variable renewables
Energy storage systems
Economics of energy storage

Lecture 5: Modeling of energy transition: Pathways, scenarios and planning tools | pdf (1.3MB)

Time and energy targets
Energy Pathways and scenarios
Tools for modeling the energy transition
Modeling for policy making

Lecture 6-1: International environmental and climate agreements (co-lectured with Franziska Menten (MSc)) | pdf (12.7MB)

History of climate agreements
Montreal Protocol: A successful international environmental agreement
International organizations and development
Project implementation and monitoring

Lecture 6-2: EU energy and climate policy (by Dr. Samuel Cross) | pdf (1.9MB)

Introduction to EU Legislation
Past: Where we are coming from, 2020 Objectives
Present: Where we are, 2030 Objectives in legislation
Future: Where we are going, EU Green Deal Fit for 55 proposals
Exercise on making policy: Saving natural gas in a hurry


The material for Lecture 2 is in parts adopted from the course “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Energy”, lectured by Prof. Peter Lund, Aalto University, Finland. Many thanks to invited speakers Dr. Kavita Surana, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Franziska Menten (MSc), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Dr. Samuel Cross, Networking Platform, Aalto University. Also, special thanks to Isabelle Starlinger (MSc) (Program Coordinator) and Prof. Hans Puxbaum (Program Director) for their support for this course at TU Wien.