Fellowship Program


2020 Fellowship overview

Washington, DC | San Francisco, CA | Chicago, IL

CELI’s signature Fellowship Program attracts emerging leaders with diverse backgrounds and equips them with technical knowledge, leadership development training, and a passionate community dedicated to building an equitable, decarbonized, and resilient energy ecosystem.

CELI’s five-month fellowship program for working professionals is taught by influential thought leaders and expert practitioners in the field. Fellows are challenged to think critically about current energy policy and market structures, identify existing barriers to clean energy deployment and innovation, and formulate new solutions to ensure equity is center to the transition moving forward.

Beyond the five-month program, CELI Fellows join an active, connected network of 500+ alumni. Upon completion of the Fellowship alumni continue to play an active role in the CELI community by hosting discussions, publishing thought pieces, attending ongoing leadership and professional development trainings, and participating in regular social and networking events. In addition, CELI facilitates connections between our alumni community and a robust professional network to enable career mentorship. 


Who Should Apply

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Who SHOULD Apply

CELI fellows are diverse, passionate, and engaged next generation leaders who have the desire to advance an equitable, decarbonized, and resilient energy ecosystem. We seek individuals currently working in the clean energy industry or professionals from adjacent fields who clearly articulate their intentions to begin, and maintain, a career in the clean energy industry.

Our fellows represent unique backgrounds including, but not limited to:

  • Policy expertise in government, academia, non-profit, or law

  • Business acumen and analytical skills in for-profit companies and organizations

  • Technical expertise and technology research and development

  • Communications expertise from consulting, speech writing, and journalism

  • Grassroots organizing and advocacy

  • Entrepreneurship and business model innovation 

  • ‘Green-collar’ expertise as a solar installer or electrician 

Fellowship Eligibility Requirements:

All applicants must reside in the Chicago, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C. metro areas and meet one of the two criteria:


3 - 7 Years of Professional Experience in Clean Energy or 5+ Years of Professional Experience in a Related Field


Under these requirements:

  • CELI does not consider undergraduate internships or fellowships as professional experience.

  • CELI considers clean energy-related graduate or post-doc training as professional experience toward meeting the 3-7 year requirement.

  • CELI considers non clean energy-related graduate or post-doc training as professional experience toward meeting the 5+ year requirement.

  • Please reach out to applications@cleanenergyleaders.org if you have any questions about your eligibility for the Fellowship program.

Competitive applicants will possess:

  • An aspiration to lead the transition to an equitable, decarbonized, and resilient energy future.

  • A strong belief in the value of community, especially as it relates to personal and professional growth. CELI members are committed to building meaningful relationships that extend deeper than the majority of professional networks.

  • A unique perspective on one or more aspects of the clean energy transition based on a combination of professional, academic, or personal experience.

  • A demonstrated interest in exploring the interconnected nature of clean energy policy, markets, finance, and innovation. These are individuals who understand the importance of learning and actively seek out topics outside their own expertise.

  • A passion for the future of clean energy, and conviction that the energy ecosystem of the future must be equitable, decarbonized, and resilient.

Additional Requirements:

  • Pay $25 Application Fee

  • If Accepted, Pay 2020 Fellowship Tuition By March 13, 2020 (Please see information about Scholarships and Payment Plans in FAQ Section)

  • Attendance is mandatory to all of the following dates throughout the Fellowship. An inability to attend all these dates will immediately disqualify applicants.

    • Orientation Day 1 - Friday March 20, 2020, 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

    • Orientation Day 2 - Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

    • Leadership Development Day - Saturday, May 9, 2020, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

    • Closing Residency - Saturday, August 15, 2020 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

  • CELI is a competitive fellowship from which for which only a small fraction of applicants are accepted. For this reason, accepted fellows are expected to attend every session. Absence from more than four sessions will result in removal from the program.

    • Showing up more than 10 minutes late to any given session will count as an absence.*

Curriculum Overview



Over the course of five months, CELI Fellows will receive training across the fundamentals of clean energy technology, policy, and finance, and skills trainings in areas such as public speaking, persuasive writing, business pitching, and advocacy. CELI Fellows will also be introduced to the fundamentals of adaptive leadership principals and how to apply them in their daily lives. The program structure includes:

  • An opening orientation, where Fellows will gather in-person for two days to connect with one another, learn some of the values and approaches of leading in clean energy, set goals for our work together in the coming year, and dive right into content through our Evolution of the U.S. Energy Systems sessions.

  • Weekly in-person sessions where experts and practitioners in the field will provide lectures, lead group discussions and exercises to dive deeper into each topic. Each session is followed by an optional happy hour to further the conversation and foster connections amongst Fellows.

  • Quarterly Saturday sessions focused on leadership development, public speaking and community building.

  • Each Fellow is required to complete a Capstone project through which they actively develop and hone their skills as a clean energy leader. Fellows are able to choose from the following Capstone projects:

    • Blog: A 600 to 800 word blog thought piece on a clean energy topic of your choice. Fellows will receive guidance, and edits from an assigned writing advisor on their topic, and provided with assistance on pitching their blogs to industry publications. All blogs, regardless of industry publication, will published on both CELI’s Newsroom page and CELI’s Medium page, and highlighted in our monthly newsletter reaching 5,000+ unique readers.

    • Business Pitch: Fellows will have 5 minutes to propose a new clean energy business or non-profit in front a panel of expert judges and the broader CELI’s extended network. The highest rated business pitch from each cohort will be invited to present at CELI’s annual emPOWER conference.

    • TED-Style Presentation: Fellows will have 8 minutes to take the stage and present on a clean energy topic of their choice the broader CELI’s extended network. The highest rated TED Talk from each cohort will be invited to present at CELI’s annual emPOWER conference.

  • closing residency, where Fellows will present final Capstone Presentations and reflect on insights gained and lessons learned through the year.  Fellows will also have a chance to help CELI shape its future programming.

Curriculum AT-A-Glance


  • Introduction to CELI and Goals of the Fellowship Program

  • Introduction to CELI’s Approach to Leadership + Development

  • Evolution of the U.S. Energy System: Fundamentals of the Electricity System

  • Evolution of the U.S. Energy System: Fundamentals of Oil + Gas

Technology Module:

  • Fundamentals of Clean Energy Technologies Part One

  • Fundamentals of Clean Energy Technologies Part Two

  • Fundamentals of Grid Technology and Demand-side Management

Markets + Finance Module:

  • Fundamentals of Electricity Wholesale Markets

  • Fundamentals of Electricity Retail Markets and Rate Design

  • Fundamentals of Clean Energy Project Finance

Policy Module:

  • Federal Policy: Clean Energy + Climate Change

  • State Policy: Best Practices and State-level Actors

  • Local Policy: What’s Happening in my Backyard

Deep Decarbonization Module:

  • Transportation of the Future: Electrification and New Mobility Services

  • Building Decarbonization: Electrification & Natural Gas System Transition

  • Water + Energy Nexus

Social Adaptation Module:

  • The Corporate View

  • Resilience + Energy Security

  • Equitable Transitions

Closing Residency:

  • Leadership Reflection

Leadership + Skill Development: Ongoing Throughout Program

  • Writing Workshop

  • Public Speaking Workshop

  • Business Pitch 101

  • Advocacy 101

  • Leadership Development

  • Off-Site Energy Tour

Note: Curriculum subject to minor changes at the discretion of CELI


2020 Fellowship Application

Washington, DC | San Francisco, CA | Chicago, IL

March 20 - August 15, 2020

Deadline: December 21, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST

*Early-Bird Tuition Pricing Available for Applications Submitted by November 30, 2019*

The Clean Energy Leadership Institute’s application requires essay submissions and cannot be saved. There is a non-refundable $25 fee to apply.

Tuition for CELI’s 2020 Fellowship Program is $1,450 (due no later than March 13, 2020 for accepted applicants). Applicants who apply by November 30, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST are eligible for an early-bird tuition rate of $1,250 if accepted. Be sure to check with your employer regarding professional development funding as this frequently covers the cost for incoming Fellows. Candidates should not let the cost of the program prevent them from applying. Please see our FAQs for information on scholarships and payment plans.

Please read the Who Should Apply and Frequently Asked Questions sections before applying!

CELI 2020 Application Form:

Phone *
Name of organization where you are currently working.
* Time spent on Advanced Degrees in a clean energy-related field (Master's, Ph.D.) count toward years of experience. Undergraduate internships/fellowships do NOT count towards years of experience.
Note: Time spent on Advanced Degrees (Master's, PhD) count toward years of experience. Undergraduate internships/fellowships do NOT count towards years of experience.
In which sector are you currently employed? Please check all that apply.
What are your skill-sets? *
What is your subject matter expertise? *
Please check all that apply.
If you selected "Other" as your professional expertise please let us know what you're up to!
Please combine your resume and responses to the questions below in a single PDF using the title format "FirstName_LastName." Each essay response should be 200 words or less. 1. What does community mean to you? What would you look to both receive and contribute to a community of clean energy professionals? 2. What distinct perspective would you bring to a fellowship class as a result of your professional insight and experience? 3. What qualities do you see as foundational in a leader? Share an example of how you believe you have demonstrated these qualities in your professional or personal life. 4. What energy technology, policy, or market trend most excites you and why? 5. What excites you about a career in clean energy, and why do you want to be a CELI Fellow? 6. What is one thing that has shaped you that isn’t included in your resume? Your file name will turn green when it has been successfully uploaded. Pease note: You must continue the application after uploading your files. Please type File Name in Box Below:
Your file name will turn green when it has been successfully uploaded. FileField;MaxSize=5120;Multiple;addText=Add_your_Files;
CELI Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy *
CELI has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and all forms of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and acts of unprofessionalism or discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or disability. CELI will take whatever measures it deems warranted under the circumstances to address any inappropriate behavior in this regard, including without limitation, your exclusion from further involvement with the organization. By checking the box below, I commit that I have read and agree to adhere to CELI's Full Policy (cleanenergyleaders.org/policies)
CELI Attendance Requirements *
By checking the boxes below, I understand and commit to the following Attendance Requirements:
CELI 2020 Fellowship Application Fee
Submit Payment

Frequently asked questions 

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What is the tuition for CELI’s Fellowship Program?

Tuition for CELI’s 2019 Fellowship Program is $1,450, due no later than March 13, 2020 for accepted applicants. This tuition covers the cost of 21 in-person sessions, access to CELI’s member portal, all Fellowship reading materials and required online energy subscriptions, and support in the development of your Fellowship projects.

Applicants who apply by November 30, 2019 are eligible for an early-bird tuition rate of $1,250 upon acceptance.

Does CELI offer scholarships or payment plans?


We are deeply committed to ensuring that every accepted applicant is able to be a part of CELI , regardless of financial need. Thanks to the generous support of our donors and sponsors, CELI provides scholarships ranging from partial to full cost reductions for Fellows who are unable to meet the program costs. We kindly ask that requests for scholarships be reserved for applicants who are not able to secure a professional development stipend.

Upon acceptance, CELI works with each applicant individually to determine financial needs, and offers a flexible payment plan ($250 deposit + monthly installments).

How many fellows are accepted to each cohort?

In 2020 CELI is offering three regional fellowships based in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago. Each fellowship class is capped at a maximum of 35 Fellows. Nationally, CELI’s annual fellowship classes consist of no more than 105 fellows. Collaboration and connection across CELI’s fellowship community is encouraged.

What are the weekly Fellowship sessions like?

Weekly sessions are held every Wednesday from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Sessions are typically conducted in a lecture format, and led by a practitioner or expert on the topic of the week. We reserve time at the end of each session for fellow Q&A, and facilitate an optional post-lecture happy hour to further the conversation and foster connections.

How much time should I expect to spend on the program?

In addition to the weekly sessions, Fellows should expect to spend an additional 2-3 hours a week to stay current with lecture material and connect with other CELI Fellows + Alumni. For the writing and presentation requirements, Fellows spend between 10-20 hours (including project development, editing, and practice sessions) to produce a final deliverable.

While the Fellowship is designed to fit with your current work and personal schedule, you get out what you put in. The value you receive from the program is directly related to the amount of time you invest in your experience.

What is the interview process like?

Qualified applicants will be invited to a 30-minute, in-person interview held between 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Interviews will be held Monday through Thursday starting Monday, January 27th, and ending on Thursday, February 6th. All interviews are led and conducted by CELI alumni, with the purpose of getting to know you, understanding your commitment to building community, learning, and leadership capacity within the clean energy industry, and briefly answering questions about the program.

If I don’t work in the clean energy sector, should I still apply?

Yes, we consider candidates who are looking to transition into the clean energy industry who would benefit from our program and network. Transition candidates should have a functional understanding of clean energy, electricity, recent policy and technological developments, and are expected to stay abreast of clean energy topics. Transition candidates should also clearly articulate their intention to begin, and maintain, a career in clean energy.

Please see requirements for transition candidates above.

If I don’t live in the CHicago, San Francisco, or Washington, DC metro areas, should I still apply? Can I participate remotely?

We are only able to offer the fellowship to applicants who reside in the areas where we host cohorts at this time. We intentionally build groups who will develop relationships within the communities we serve and our hope is to expand to additional cities in the future. We highly encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter for future events like our recent emPOWER Conference, and hope we can find ways to connect soon!

Are there events I can attend if I am not a Fellow?

Throughout the the year, CELI hosts educational and social events. Please sign up for our newsletter below and check out our events page for more information!