You Have the Right to Generate Your Own Electricity

Preserving an implicit right in the face of electric utility resistance

Do people have the right to generate electricity for their own use and still remain connected to the grid? Of course they do. You see it every day. Without prior registration or a background check, anyone can go into a hardware store and buy a diesel generator. Homeowners and businesses can install rooftop solar photovoltaics …


Getting Permission to Go Solar

Last summer, Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) issued a report, at the request of Governor Jerry Brown, identifying barriers to the accelerated deployment of “distributed” renewable energy projects. This document was the result of a stakeholder conference hosted by the Governor, located on campus at UCLA, and substantively managed by Berkeley …


Post-Tsunami Japan Teaches the World About Energy Within Limits

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 …


Jerry Brown’s Push for Local Renewable Power

Local renewables – those photovoltaics, small wind turbines, etc. on people’s roofs, and in public spaces close to demand – how big of a role can they play in our renewable energy future? Berkeley and UCLA law schools wrote about that topic in In Our Backyard, and California’s Governor Jerry Brown made this question a …


Solar Power — More Reliable Than You Might Think

Wind and solar power are intermittent — we can rely on them to make power only when the wind blows or the sun shines.  And it can cost a lot (in terms of dollars and the environment) to fill in the gaps with conventional power sources.  That’s why the development of energy storage is so …


Sun Down, Sun Up

There is bad news and there is good news about efforts to promote distributed solar energy development in the United States.  On balance, the long-term perspective seems to be improving.  Greenwire reports that the California Solar Initiative, the states ambitious program to encourage photovoltaic installations on homes and businesses, has lost some steam, lately. Builders …


Hip Hip Hoo—-Wait A Minute …..

Two recent announcements seem to offer reason for good cheer on the renewable energy front.  But in each instance, it pays to read a little deeper and maybe keep the cork in the champagne a bit longer. The first came in the form of a California Public Utilities Commission report that concluded that there are …