The rooftop solar market in the US, and especially in California, has experienced explosive growth in the last decade. At least in part this growth can be attributed to the government incentive programs, which effectively reduce the system costs. One of the most aggressive incentive programs is the California Solar Initiative (CSI), a rooftop solar subsidy program initiated in 2007 with the goal of creating 1,940 megawatts of solar capacity by 2016.
The CSI program has been touted as a great success, and it certainly seems so: over 2,000 megawatts have been installed to date. But how much of this … [read more]
The American wind energy industry has grown in spite of the “boom and bust” cycle of wind energy development fostered by the renewal-expiration-renewal cycle of the wind production tax credit (PTC). The PTC is one of the primary tools used to spur wind energy development and expired at the end of 2013. The result was a 92% drop in 2013 installations, compared to 2012. Extension of the PTC will likely be the subject of debate about so-called tax extenders during the upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress as the wind industry seeks an extension of the PTC through 2015.… [read more]
Figure 1. GDP Per Capita versus Power Consumption Per Capita
Human well-being is a direct function of power consumed, or the rate at which work is done. The relationship between rate of energy consumption and rate of wealth production should not surprise anyone. The faster work is done (more power consumed), the more wealth that is produced. It is impossible to think of a single wealth-producing activity that does not require work—the expenditure of energy. The great increase in the world’s wealth since the Industrial Revolution is the obvious outcome of using fossil fuels to provide the energy for machines … [read more]
Tesla will not be able to sell their electric cars directly to consumers in Michigan after Governor Rick Snyder signed bipartisan legislation on October 21st that clarifies existing state auto sales laws. Tesla has been fighting with numerous states to maintain their preferred, and successful, business model of selling vehicles directly to consumers, as opposed to the traditional method of selling to franchised dealerships that sell to consumers.
The Michigan legislation isn’t unique; forty-eight states have had laws in place for years that ban or limit direct sales of automobiles. In the early years of the auto industry, manufacturers needed … [read more]
A State Energy Plan (SEP) is a comprehensive strategy that helps policymakers, state utility regulators, energy suppliers, and consumers strategically plan for a state’s energy future. The goal of an SEP is to act as a roadmap to improve energy affordability, security, and resilience, which in turn, will ultimately lead to a state’s prosperity. As of 2014, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have some form of energy planning document to guide statewide energy policy, with another five having begun the process. The Missouri Energy Initiative (MEI) conducted a detailed analysis of SEPs, leading to several conclusions:
… [read more]