Skip to main content

Residential solar: How should distributed generation be distributed?

Meredith Fowlie, Associate Professor and Class of 1935 Distinguished Chair in Energy | 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 »

One university’s attempt to reduce energy waste at work

Meredith Fowlie, Associate Professor and Class of 1935 Distinguished Chair in Energy | February 23, 2015

If you work outside your home, chances are you don’t pay (directly) for the energy you use at work. At my place of work, the UC Berkeley campus, most employees never see – let alone pay – their energy bills. Of course, there are plenty of pro-social reasons to be conscientious about my energy consumption … Continue reading »

A common energy-saving device I’ve never seen in the U.S.

Catherine Wolfram, faculty co-director, Energy Institute at Haas | October 8, 2014

I tend to think of the U.S. as ahead of most of the rest of the world when it comes to energy efficiency. Maybe not in the Germany or Japan league, but at least above the median. After all, our utilities are spending billions of dollars per year encouraging energy efficiency and our policy makers talk about … Continue reading »

How Bit Met Watt

Santiago Miret, Ph.D. student, materials science & engineering | April 1, 2014

With the miniaturization of electronics, the world’s computing capabilities exploded, while the energy required to produce bits of data continued to drop. The world was creating more and bits of data, which required less and less watts to operate. As the computing devices became smaller, we went from room-sized computer used for the Apollo program … Continue reading »

Lightbulb wars: the saga continues

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 21, 2014

Republicans have won a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology. Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards.  This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy sense. Or to put it … Continue reading »

How California’s K-12 schools can teach us about energy efficiency

Catherine Wolfram, faculty co-director, Energy Institute at Haas | October 28, 2013

California has long been a leading indicator of national energy-efficiency trends. The state passed minimum efficiency standards for refrigerators in 1976, 11 years before the federal government adopted similar standards. And, the recent Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are based on legislation passed in California several years earlier. The state is about to blaze another energy … Continue reading »

Nest(ing): A home-energy home run for Mother Earth

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day everyone! I briefly contemplated a doom and gloom post about the state of the global climate and lack of regulation. But let’s focus on what does work, albeit at a much smaller scale, instead of what doesn’t work. Team Auffhammer has invested a lot of money in energy efficiency measures in our … Continue reading »

Why is each sequel worse than the last?

Dan Farber, professor of law | February 15, 2013

Some movie franchises last way too long: Friday the 13th, Rocky, Nightmare on Elm Street.  Each new film is worse than the last, and they’re all worse than the original, which wasn’t so great itself.  The GOP war on energy-efficient light bulbs has the same characteristic — you wish someone would just drive a stake through … Continue reading »

When efficiency is not enough

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | January 28, 2013

This past week I attended and had the pleasure to speak and debate at the 2013 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  This was the sixth such summit, and the third I have attended. The stated goal of the meeting is to: bring together global leaders in policy, technology and business … Continue reading »

Deck the halls with LEDs

Elizabeth Bailey, adjunct professor, Haas School of Business | December 5, 2012

As a parent of two preschoolers, I get talked in to many things.  This past weekend, I was talked in to decorating our front porch with a string of holiday lights. For the pre-tax price of $16.99 at Costco, my husband brought home a 33-foot string of 100 multi-colored miniature holiday lights for me to … 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 »

Is environmentalism bad for fighting climate change?

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | May 30, 2012

Sure, it sounds like a paradox.  The environmental movement has done a lot of good for the planet and for pollution.  But in the face of the greatest environmental threat of our time, the movement may be fundamentally ill-suited to tackle the climate crisis. For most of its history, environmentalism has essentially been about stopping … Continue reading »

Rebound redux

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 24, 2012

I’ve posted  previously about the rebound effect. Improving energy efficiency frees up money, which can be used to purchase more of the same product or different products that use energy.  This “rebound” cuts away at the energy savings and correspondingly at the carbon reduction achieved through energy efficiency. Everyone seems to agree that the rebound … Continue reading »

Post-tsunami Japan teaches the world about energy within limits

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | August 1, 2011

Earlier this summer, I accompanied a class of renewable-energy law students to a home in Vermont that is “off the grid.” The family lives quite comfortably — television, microwave oven, electric washing machine, sizable refrigerator. With the exception of a small diesel generator, which they use once or twice a year, they derive all of … Continue reading »

Michelle Bachmann’s unconstitutional light-bulb bill

Dan Farber, professor of law | March 3, 2011

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) has introduced legislation to overturn the statute requiring the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, according to E&E News. One  feature of the bill is its escape valve: Bachmann’s bill would allow the mandate to stand if the Government Accountability Office can prove the energy efficient bulbs would meet three criteria: that they … Continue reading »