solar energy

If It Quacks Like a Duck: Intermittent Renewables and the Grid

At an energy policy conference that I attended on campus recently, one of the speakers asked how many people in the audience were familiar with the Duck Chart. As someone who tries to stay on top of things in the energy world, I was surprised by how many people raised a hand to express familiarity …

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Christie Goes Solar

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation a few days ago to strengthen the state’s solar industry. Utilities will be required to 2.05% of their power from solar in 2014, rising to 4.1% in 2028. The law also sets a price cap of $339 for each megawatt-hour short of the goal in 2014. According to …

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A New Report on the Governor’s Local Renewable Energy Initiative

Last July, I reported on a conference convened at UCLA by California Governor Jerry Brown to further his efforts to increase the amount of local renewable electric generation in California to 12,000 megawatts of installed capacity by the year 2020. Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment provided the substantive support for that event, …

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Exploring Policies to Promote Local Renewables

Last July, California Governor Jerry Brown held a conference, hosted by the Luskin Center at UCLA, to launch his initiative to achieve 12,000 megawatts of local renewable energy projects in California by 2020.  Local renewables, often called distributed generation, are projects no larger than 20 megawatts located close to customer demand. Berkeley Law’s Center for …

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Cheap Solar Provides Some Reason for Climate Optimism

Solar energy is getting really cheap.  And that fact could alter the landscape of energy production and the course of climate change in ways we can only begin to imagine today. One of the conundrums of climate change  is trying to predict the future.  This difficulty in prediction may be especially true with respect to …

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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 …

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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 …

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Home Solar Good for More Than a Guilty Conscience

Despite all of the tax breaks, utility rebates, and net metering potential, the common assumption is that rooftop residential photovoltaics are not economical for many customers. Some people figure that you install a solar system if you want to feel good about yourself, or make a statement about the environment, but you had better expect …

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That’s “Chief Justice Bitch”

The ongoing Wisconsin saga of public sector union rights has, predictably, involved the state’s Supreme Court.  But in a much more personal way than one would think at first: The April 5th state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin, where incumbent Justice David Prosser is seeking re-election, is now being shaken up by news about the …

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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 …

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