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  • Solar grid parity 101 — and why you should care

    We're rapidly approaching solar grid parity, the tipping point when installing solar power will cost less than buying electricity from the grid.

  • Here comes the sun – the chart Paul Krugman left out

    This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. Nobel economist Paul Krugman made waves last month when his column “Here Comes the Sun” noted that the rapidly falling cost of solar electricity – “prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year” – […]

  • XKCD illustrates the cost of electricity

    The webcomic XKCD usually has pretty stripped-down images, and saves its complexity for the jokes. But when creator Randall Munroe gets his hands on some data, he can make an infographic you could get lost in. The above (click to embiggen) is just a tiny section of his epic chart comparing how much money gets spent […]

  • Learning from history: Why natural gas prices will rise

    Here’s the standard story about the U.S. power grid: It gets baseload supply from hydro, nuclear, and coal (in that order), using natural gas (and the occasional oil plant) as a swing producer to meet peak demands. Renewables play on the margin, but are neither big nor reliable enough to matter from a grid planning […]

  • The Economics of Distributed Renewable Power

    A serialized version of ILSR‘s new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 2 of 5. Click for Part 1. The Economics of Distributed Generation The falling cost of distributed renewable generation has been one of the key drivers of the transformation of the U.S. electric grid. The following chart illustrates the cost of power generation […]

  • Growing Midwest and Appalachian efficiency markets

    Like boiling frogs, it’s the rate of change that matters when it comes to energy efficiency investments. Consumers who have grown accustomed to $4 gasoline are much less likely to buy a hybrid car than ones who just saw their gasoline price double from $1 to $2 between fill-ups. This is the silver lining of […]

  • How to buy (and price) clean power

    You get what you pay for. Clean power mandates in the US mandate that we buy megawatt-hours of clean energy, but they don’t mandate that those sources be reliable. This isn’t to say that clean energy can’t be reliable, but rather that it is mis-priced. Increasingly, this is causing conflicts for utilities, who have purchase […]

  • Obama's energy gambit: a call for less coal

    None of the targets Obama offered in his State of the Union -- 80 percent clean energy, 80 percent access to high-speed rail, a million electric cars -- have any policy force. They are offered as signaling devices, attempts to frame political debates to come. In that context, I thought what he did on energy was quite a bit more interesting and significant than it's being given credit for.

  • What's the real potential for behavior-change programs?

    We haven't yet seen even a fraction of the potential for electric utility programs designed to influence customers to use less energy.