2,810 research outputs found

    Retail Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar: Focus on New England

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    The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) recently issued a study entitled “Putting the Potential Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar into Context,” authored by Galen Barbose. The LBNL study estimates the potential rate impact of distributed solar on national average retail electricity prices, and importantly, compares that impact to the potential impact of other rate drivers such as natural gas prices, renewable portfolio standards, and utility capital expenditures.1 This brief applies a similar style analysis as used by LBNL to regional and state level data to estimate more granular impacts for New England. We estimate rate impacts for various penetration rates of net metered distributed solar and compare them to the potential rate impacts of future natural gas prices, energy efficiency gains, RPS costs, RGGI costs, and utility capital expenditures. Like LBNL, we attempt to isolate the impact of these rate drivers as well as represent uncertainty around future policy choices, commodity costs, and technology costs

    The Clean Power Plan Puzzle: The Future of Efforts to Control Climate Pollution in the Northeast

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    In October 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the first national plan to cut climate pollution from power plants. Called the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the effort requires a 32% nation-wide reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector. The CPP also gives states multiple pathways to comply. Now states are on the clock: they must submit their individual compliance plans or signal their intent to submit multi-state plans by September 2016. The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first market-based trading platform established to cut climate pollution from power plants in the Northeast, must now decide the future of the effort. This paper explores a few of the key issues for state regulators in the RGGI region with a special focus on New York State. We discuss the need to reset the RGGI cap to ensure progress toward New York’s and other state climate pollution reduction goals. We recommend a change to RGGI’s structure that will ensure compliance with the CPP. We discuss the EPA’s proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), an effort to encourage early state actions to reduce emissions. And we discuss other implementation issues with respect to linking RGGI to other mass-based state compliance plans. In brief, we recommend that the RGGI states adopt a new cap that requires at least a 2.5 percent per year reduction in region-wide GHG emissions

    Distributed, Nega-, and Reclaimed: Setting Expectations in the New Resource Base

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    At this point in time, environmental law faces the task of drawing a budget for living within our resource means, and this budget will be tightly stretched. It must provide energy, water, food, and materials to a growing population; it must cope with the depletion of formerly abundant resources; and it must act both to mitigate climate impacts and adapt to the changes already manifesting. To do this, the budgeting must consider resources and uses that have previously been considered insignificant and that have not received attention in terms of ownership, allocation, or governance. Thus, the future of environmental law will involve charting individual property expectations in previously unconsidered resources: society\u27s cast-offs, scraps, and leavings. The history of environmental law has involved defining and refining expectations in property and resource use. Environmental law has addressed the resource impacts of development, set parameters for further resource development, and resolved conflicting uses or claims to resources. In each of these ways, environmental law has served to establish and adjust expectations. Thus, in a generalized sense, environmental law can be described as the governance of resource use with a particular attention to the impacts on the human and natural environment. The future of environmental law will be a variation on this past. It will still involve defining and refining expectations, only this time for a fresh set of new resources, ripe to be utilized. Well, at least for a semi-fresh set of new-ish resources, but certainly ones that are ripe to be utilized. This emerging resource stock is cobbled from formerly insignificant discards and leftovers. For example, new resource stocks can be found in wastewater streams used as water and energy sources, roofs and backyards assembled as power and food production spaces, and foregone consumption considered to be an alternative to increased supply. Distributed generation, nega-watts, reclaimed sewage, conserved water, vacant-lot farming, and rooftop gardens: these are the new resource base, and a major role for environmental law will be in figuring out how to manage them for their maximum potential benefit

    Biofuels: Potentials, Problems & Solutions

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    Biofuels have the exciting potential of mitigating the grave threats of global warming, reducing the world\u27s dependence on imported oil from insecure sources and of reducing the skyrocketing costs of oil that are threatening to undermine the world\u27s economies and devastating the people in non-oil producing, developing countries. For the people in these countries, biofuel offer a promising road to enhance development since they use local materials, can provide local jobs, and do not require the import of expensive equipment and expertise. Brazil has been the pioneer in the use of biofuel, allowing it to eliminate its oil imports, becoming completely energy independent, and demonstrating to the world the potential benefits of substitution of biofuels for fossil fuels. Indeed, inspired by Brazil\u27s example, the United States in recent years has developed a strong biofuel industry, albeit from the disadvantageous feedstock of corn. The United States has just created an alliance with Brazil to make major purchases of its biofuels. The European Union and countries around the world are rapidly developing their own biofuel potentials. But Brazil and its replicators have to exercise great care in designing and implementing biofuel programs. The environmental and social risks of biofuel development, also demonstrated in Brazil, are great and could well undermine all of the potential advantages if not done right

    Pace Energy and Climate Center 2015 Annual Report

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    In 2015, Pace Energy and Climate Center continued a 27-year tradition of successfully advancing clean energy policies and solutions in communities across the State of New York and the Northeast region, across the United States, and around the world. As a unique organization that operates at the boundaries between law, policy, business, and regulation, we continue to bring innovative thinking, strong analysis, technological understanding, and stakeholder engagement to the vital climate and energy challenges facing us today. We have been pleased to become a key player in the New York Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) initiative. REV seeks to devolve the electric utility of the future to accommodate new renewable and distributed energy resources, improve resiliency, and avoid significant increases in customer bills. We operate with a small staff of highly capable experts, multiplied by the commitment and energy of student interns, and leveraged through a community of clean energy stakeholders. Pace identifies and understands the issues, crafts the solutions and improvements needed, and uses the tools of law and policy advocacy to change the way things are done—for the better. In 2015, we continued and strengthened program efforts in many areas, expanded our reach an influence into new areas, and scored important victories in ensuring that clean, efficient, and renewable energy would be an increasing part of our lives, today and tomorrow. Facing the challenges of climate change up close, we design and implement solutions at the same scale—at the level of state and local policy and action—that will empower and support community initiatives wherever Pace works. All our work is made possible by the generous support of our funders and the continued commitment of Dean David Yassky, the staff and faculty of the Pace Law School, and the entire Pace University team. Standing behind them is a strong network of Pace alumni and donors who help keep us all going. We couldn’t do it without each of them

    Environmental Law\u27s Heartland and Frontiers

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    This short paper offers three propositions to help maintain the traditional core of environmental law while also expanding environmental concerns into the frontiers of the field: 1. Environmental law in the heartland and environmental law at the frontiers of the field differ in important ways. 2. The distinctive features of the heartland and frontiers provide important functional benefits for the adaptive development of environmental law in each respective area. 3. Maintaining a distinctive heartland and frontiers of environmental law creates a dialectic relationship between the two that includes tension but also, if properly managed, potential synergies. The locus of innovation moving forward is likely to be outside of the traditional domain of environmental law--in areas that are at the frontiers of environmental law, but in the heart of related fields such as energy law, corporate social responsibility, and insurance. At the same time, environmental law\u27s heartland will continue to dominate the regulation of environmental harms for the foreseeable future. The future of environmental law therefore will be determined by a dialectic relationship between the heartland and frontiers of environmental law; each playing its own crucial role in the development of the field, in tension but also significantly dependent on the other

    2018 Competition Problem

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    Foreword: Energy and the Environment: Empowering Consumers

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    The conference Energy and the Environment: Empowering Consumers brought together legal scholars, attorneys, scientists, philosophers, journalists, sociologists, elected representatives, and agency experts. This symposium issue of the Hofstra Law Review presents a selection of papers from conference participants that, together, illustrate some of the opportunities, challenges, and diverse questions that arise in the effort to deploy energy and environmental law and policy to embrace individual consumers and combat climate change

    Achieving Very High PV Penetration

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    This article argues that optimally deployed intermittency solutions could affordably transform solar power generation into the firm power delivery system modern economies require, thereby enabling very high solar penetration and the displacement conventional power generation. The optimal deployment of these high‐penetration enabling solutions imply the existence of a healthy power grid, and therefore imply a central role for utilities and grid operators. This article also argues that a value‐based electricity compensation mechanism, recognizing the multifaceted, penetration‐dependent value and cost of solar energy, and capable of shaping consumption patterns to optimally match resource and demand, would be an effective vehicle to enable high solar penetration and deliver affordable firm power generation

    Maine Distributed Solar Valuation Study

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    During its 2014 session, the Maine Legislature enacted an Act to Support Solar Energy Development in Maine. P.L Chapter 562 (April 24, 2014) (codified at 35‐A M.R.S. §§ 3471‐3473) (“Act”). Section 1 of the Act contains the Legislative finding that it is in the public interest is to develop renewable energy resources, including solar energy, in a manner that protects and improves the health and well‐being of the citizens and natural environment of the State while also providing economic benefits to communities, ratepayers and the overall economy of the State. Section 2 of the Act requires the Public Utilities Commission (Commission) to determine the value of distributed solar energy generation in the State, evaluate implementation options, and to deliver a report to the Legislature. To support this work, the Commission engaged a project team comprising Clean Power Research (Napa, California), Sustainable Energy Advantage (Framingham, Massachusetts), Pace Energy and Climate Center at the Pace Law School (White Plains, New York), and Dr. Richard Perez (Albany, New York). Under the project, the team developed the methodology under a Commission‐run stakeholder review process, conducted a valuation on distributed solar for three utility territories, and developed a summary of implementation options for increasing deployment of distributed solar generation in the State. The report includes three volumes which accompany this Executive Summary: Volume I Methodology; Volume II Valuation Results; Volume III Implementation Options
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