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Feeling smug about your solar rooftop? Not so fast

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | January 21, 2016

If you installed solar panels on your roof and feel aglow with environmental virtue, you may be in for a rude awakening. There’s a good chance someone else has purchased your halo and is wearing it right now. In most states (including California) power generated by rooftop solar panels earns Renewable Energy Certificates, which quantify how … Continue reading »

Residential solar: How should distributed generation be distributed?

Meredith Fowlie, associate professor, agricultural and resource economics | July 7, 2015

Growth in the residential solar market continues apace. In the United States, residential solar PV installations last quarter were up 11 percent over the previous quarter: The figure  illustrates this impressive growth rate (in dark blue). However, this is growth on a very small base. By my crude calculations, less than half a percent of … Continue reading »

News from a warming world

Dan Farber, professor of law | April 2, 2015

There’s been a lot of interesting environmental news recently, much of which seems to have gotten little notice. The topics range from U.S. wind power (growing) to U.S. coal power and Arctic sea ice (both shrinking), with a bit of Ted Cruz to spice things up. Here’s the round-up: Out with coal, in with wind. The Energy … Continue reading »

Public opinion and energy politics

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 13, 2015

The Pew Research Center published some intriguing polling results on energy issues just before Christmas. Americans have clearly noticed falling prices at the gas pump, but only half realize that U.S. oil and gas production has soared. So far, the changes haven’t affected policy views: a large majority favors expanding use of alternative energy, but … Continue reading »

Atacama – The Sun of Chilean Energy

Santiago Miret, Ph.D. student, materials science & engineering | November 13, 2014

Chile’s Atacama desert provides some of the best natural conditions in the world for solar power. Long periods of horizontal solar irradiation create great natural conditions for solar power in Atacama, which ultimately translates into lower cost of generating solar energy. Chile has supplemented the favorable natural conditions for solar power with encouraging market conditions for … Continue reading »

Biofuels and food prices

Dan Farber, professor of law | March 27, 2014

Berkeley economist Brian Wright has a disquieting article in the Winter 2014 issues of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, which just crossed my desk. JEP is published by the American Economic Association and is a great resource for those of us who are interested in economics but aren’t professional economists. This article is a case in point. Wright’s methodology is simple, … Continue reading »

Interior moving forward with contentious desert solar projects

Patrick Donnelly-Shores, former student, College of Natural Resources | March 7, 2014

On February 19th, the Department of Interior announced that it had approved two utility-scale solar projects in the Mojave Desert: Silver State South Solar Project and Stateline Solar Farm Project. The two projects, which have already generated significant controversy, straddle the California/Nevada border in the remote Ivanpah Valley, and will combine to provide 550 MW of energy, … Continue reading »

Putting a collar on carbon prices

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | June 4, 2013

When it was launched in 2005, the European Union cap and trade program for greenhouse gases (known as the Emissions Trading System or EU-ETS) was a bold and important step in addressing climate change.  But from the beginning, the EU-ETS has often been a painful learning experience, much of the learning by politicians: –  A … Continue reading »

Why the GOP should embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency

Dan Farber, professor of law | November 13, 2012

There’s a lot of discussion these days about how the Republican Party should reposition itself in light of last week’s election results.  Support for renewables and energy efficiency would make sense as part of a package of policy adjustments — it would strengthen the Party’s appeal to swing voters, women, and younger voters, with only … Continue reading »

Coal-rich Kosovo can lead on clean energy, with forward-looking international cooperation

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | March 13, 2012

Over the past decade, plans for 160 new coal fired power plants in the United States have been scrapped, largely due to rising costs and an inability to compete in today’s energy markets. That’s because the cost of once-“expensive” clean energy has fallen dramatically, while “cheap” fossil fuels are increasingly expensive in economic, health, and … Continue reading »