solar energy

…and another thing about electric rates and the environment…

Last week, I wrote about how a proposal to change the design of residential electric rates might get in the way of efforts to encourage energy efficiency.   Sushil Jacob, a keen-eyed student in my Energy Regulation and the Environment class, points to another potential problem.  PG&E, the largest utility providing service in California, wants …

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DOE Bets on Central Station Solar — Is It the Right Horse?

Congratulations to Oakland’s BrightSource Energy Inc. for winning the largest federal loan guarantee for a renewable energy project thus far — $1.37 billion for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, to be constructed in the Mojave Desert.  For an observer like me – one who is most definitely not a financial markets expert – the …

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For Renewable Energy in California, It’s Not Clear Which Way the Wind is Blowing

If California’s governor sticks to the plan he announced last week, California’s leadership role in promoting domestic renewable energy development is in doubt.  As Cara Horowitz reported in a recent post, the governor announced his intention to veto recently-passed legislation that would have set a target of 33% renewable power by 2020.  Instead of signing …

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Solar Energy on the Fast Track

Yesterday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced a series of initiatives to create a “fast track” for the development of utility scale solar energy facilities on Western public lands.  This will include designating certain tracts of land as especially promising based on solar potential and land use compatibility, funding environmental …

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The Nuclear Option

In the 1960s, when legendary environmentalist David Brower expressed his opposition to nuclear power, he exposed a rift among his Sierra Club colleagues, many of whom saw “too cheap to meter” nuclear power as the solution to air pollution problems.  Brower and others focused on the danger of nuclear accidents, security issues, and the difficulty …

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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 …

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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 …

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