Insights from Our Experts

We Need a Lorry-Load of Energy Savings; in the new ECO, the Government Delivers a Hatchback

By Jan Rosenow, Richard Cowart
The United Kingdom was once a world leader in energy savings. We proved that investing in buildings, insulating lofts, and switching to efficient boilers, motors, and lighting created jobs, saved money, and lowered the environmental costs of energy systems. But in recent years we have turned our back on our own evidence, reducing the breadth and depth of energy e... Read More

Hot Showers and Cool Rides: Wind, Sun, and the Duck Curve

By Jim Lazar
As we look out over the power sector transformation that is unmistakably upon us, there are those who warn of the sacrifices, the risks, and the costs that could come with more and more intermittent electricity generation—wind and solar energy, for example—on the grid. They show us the “duck curve” that suggests that balancing supply and demand is more ch... Read More

Lighting the Path to a Brighter Future

By John Shenot
With so many attention-grabbing headlines coming from sunny places like Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii, one could easily be led to think that’s where all of the solar power action is in the United States. Not true! In fact, solar power is steadily gaining ground in all corners of the country. Consider, for example, the groundbreaking work (pun intended... Read More

Carbon Markets: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future

By David Littell
Neo-classical economics tells us that markets reduce costs and increase social welfare. It also teaches that pollution not properly accounted for is a classic economic externality. That is, if clean air and clear water are not properly valued, degrading them reduces economic efficiency, impacts social welfare, and increases social costs. Pollution not-paid-fo... Read More

Energy Efficiency in the UK: Time to Get Out of Reverse Gear

By Jan Rosenow, Richard Cowart
In recent years across the UK, citizens, government, and the business community have all demonstrated a willingness to lead the world in the fight against climate change. So the mystery today is: Why is the UK walking away from energy efficiency, the most effective and least-cost way of reducing carbon emissions? We certainly know better. When it comes to ener... Read More

Renewables in China and India: How the two Asian Giants are Struggling with Inflexible Power System Operations

By Max Dupuy, Ranjit Bharvirkar
In recent years, China and India have greatly expanded renewable energy capacity. Installed wind capacity in China reached 129 GW at the end of 2015, up 23 percent over six months earlier and now the highest in the world. Solar PV generation capacity has also grown quickly, reaching 43 GW in December 2015, up from 28 GW a year earlier. India’s totals are smalle... Read More

If Europe Wants Integrated Markets, it Should Take the Leap to Regional Grids

By Philip Baker
Europe is progressing towards an integrated, interconnected pan-European electricity market. However, the governance and regulatory arrangements that the EU has established to support this process are inadequate to the task. They are more focused on preserving the sovereignty of national TSO and regulators than addressing the wider interests of the market. Accord... Read More

It’s Aready Happening: New EIA Numbers Show a Utility Sector in Transformation

By John Shenot
My colleague David Littell recently wrote about the inexorable shift of the US power sector toward cleaner sources of electric energy, noting that the cost of renewables has been dropping, energy efficiency continues to grow, and storage technologies have been improving, among other things. Shortly after we published his article, the US Energy Information Adminis... Read More

China’s String of New Policies Addressing Renewable Energy Curtailment: An Update

By Max Dupuy, Wang Xuan
In late March, the Chinese government issued a major policy announcement (Chinese, known as “Document 625”) on renewable energy, aimed at reducing the perennially high level of curtailment of energy from wind, solar, hydro, and other renewable resources. The central feature of Document 625 is a mandated “guarantee” that grid companies purchase output from... Read More

Lower Emissions, Costs Possible with Two-Part Pricing and Dispatch Reform in China

By Wang Xuan, Fredrich (Fritz) Kahrl
China’s power sector is one of the key causes of coal consumption and pollution emissions. The Chinese government has achieved great progress in decarbonizing the power sector in the past ten years through increasing energy efficiency, installing pollution treatment equipment, and supporting renewable energy. However, some problems still remain, including: ... Read More