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Articles by Michael Moynihan

Featured Article

This past weekend, I attended the Aspen Institute‘s Clean Energy Roundtable, an annual gathering of business, political, and policy leaders working in clean energy. Inspired by the many insights and ideas presented, here are my thoughts on the state of clean energy today and what lies ahead.

First, the good news. Prices of key clean energy technologies are plummeting, bringing many technologies, such as distributed solar and energy storage, closer and closer to mass deployment. The cost of solar panels today is about 20 percent below that of a year ago. And it should continue dropping for the forseeable future. In other words, the performance/price ratio is improving exponentially, like computer chips, if not quite as fast, and for different reasons — cost economies for the most part, as opposed to breakthrough technologies. The main driver of the plummeting costs is volume and successful efforts by the Chinese government to vertically integrate the Chinese solar industry, which now supplies over half of the world’s solar panels. (In advanced thin films, costs per watt are also coming down.) Even more dramatic price drops are occurri... Read more

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  • Removing roadblocks to the growth of renewables

    On Friday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released new monthly statistics for renewable energy output as well as output of traditional forms of power.  The good news is that renewable energy in May, the latest month for which statistics have been compiled, is at its all-time highest level, accounting for 13% of total power.  The […]

  • Can trade policy and climate policy work hand-in-hand?

    This past weekend, while traveling in India, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received the message, courteous but firm, that India has no intention of capping carbon.  The rationale provided is that India has low per capita emissions.  This is, to be sure, India’s best argument.  Her overall emissions are soaring as her population spirals upward–India, […]

  • Autos, smart grid and clean tech: DOE turns on the money

    Last week the Department of Energy released part of the $25 billion in loans provided for through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, included in Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The delay in releasing these funds had been one of the longest running scandals in clean tech policy. […]

  • Clean technology innovation: reaping the rewards

    Business Week has a provocative article this week by Michael Mandel on innovation — or the collapse of it — in America. According to Mandel, many of our current woes stem from a failure to innovate over the last decade since the glory years of the late 1990s. While most Americans still take pride in our innovation, […]