It’s easy to assume our transition from coal to natural gas is the biggest contributor to our decline in carbon dioxide emissions. However, significant evidence shows the acceleration of renewable energy and energy efficiency has contributed far more than natural gas.
By comparing electricity rates instead of bills, many inaccurately believe higher levels of renewables make electricity costlier. Outdated data or conservative cost assumptions for energy sources also tarnish renewable energy’s reputation as a cost-effective option.
While it is true that overgeneration of renewable energy can cause reliability problems, curtailment (shutting off excess generation) is often unnecessary and expensive. When examining renewables generation, it’s important to consider variability across multiple regions.
Does a solution to San Francisco’s housing affordability and transportation challenges already exist 6,000 miles away? A policy innovation already working in Brazil could increase our housing supply while generating billions for public transit investment.
Fears about a “duck curve,” when large shares of renewables create ramping problems during parts of the day, are overblown. Myriad solutions like demand response can compensate for the variability created by increasing shares of renewables on the grid.
Rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources (DER) like efficiency or energy storage provide a stack of benefits to the grid. But most utilities have no meaningful method to compare the value of DER to that of traditional power plants providing the same services. We need much more granular information about local needs to understand and capture the precise value of DER.
The communities in which we live strongly shape (and are shaped by) our wellbeing. Over time, changing preferences and norms influence the types of built environments we create for ourselves. Given trends and conditions in many of today’s societies, this means transitioning away from the sprawling, car-dependent suburbs, and toward the dense, walkable city.
California’s suburban sprawl has made the state’s transportation sector its largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. With an expected addition of 6 million new residents in the next 15 years, whether California succeeds in building cities inward instead of outward could make all the difference in meeting its 2030 climate target, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
A foundation veteran who (co-)wrote the book on marrying measurement to giving now says the ideas he promoted have had some “nasty” effects on donor-grantee relationships.
On 21 February, China’s State Council released a new set of urban development guidelines aiming to produce a framework which will create urban areas that have improved navigability, tighter-knit communities, better access to commercial and public areas, and are less resource intensive.