Ben Bovarnick

Master of Environmental Management, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 2018

Ben Bovarnick is a second-year Masters of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, focusing on how regulatory policy and innovative financial tools can be used to develop new markets for advanced energy technologies, with particular focus on the electricity sector. At Yale, he is a researcher for the SEEDS II low-moderate-income-solar-market project. In partnership with CBEY, he is also conducting an independent study on the barriers and opportunities for increasing the role of new energy technologies within US electricity markets.

In the summer of 2017, Ben worked to deploy $20 million in public grants for community microgrid projects throughout New York state through an internship with the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. Prior to Yale, Ben worked for three years as a Research Assistant with the Energy Policy team at the Center for American Progress. At CAP, Ben studied and developed state and federal policies designed to bolster the finance and deployment of renewable energy and US engagement in international climate mitigation efforts. His research included US energy-storage markets, low-income-solar access, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, climate-related risk insurance, UNFCCC negotiations, and wastewater-infrastructure-resilience efforts.

Ben holds a BA in chemistry and political science from the University of Rochester. He is originally from Oakland, California. He is an avid fan of Bay Area sports and Mission-style burritos.

Authored Articles
Grand finale with fireworks above a circus tent

The Grand Finale: Energy-Grid Barriers and Solutions

On social media and at industry conventions, it is easy to find high-profile discussions on the technological revolution of electric grids. Experts on energy storage, distributed generation, and wireless options describe how emerging technologies are poised to transform the electricity sector. The hype is real. Energy companies are developing technologies at an increasingly rapid pace. But for all the attention on these new devices and expectations of market growth, there’s still no clear path to widespread adoption. As this series shows, several key barriers prevent technology adoption from keeping up with technology development.
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Regulators and Pilots: Now for Our First Act

Like a brilliant new TV show, new energy technologies must run the gauntlet of the pilot phase, soliciting interest from utilities and developers. In the electric industry, piloting new equipment can be particularly difficult because new, advanced energy-technology pilots must demonstrate that deployment won’t compromise the stability of the electric grid.

A High-Wire Act: Balancing a Modern Grid with Regulated Assets

Look at the electrical systems around you. You might not know it, but from power plants with towering smokestacks to wires across the nation, the grid is changing faster than ever before. When utilities make investments approved by state regulators, the cost of the investment plus a reasonable ROI is spread out over the useful life of the equipment and bundled into your electricity rate. However, this traditional model of cost recovery does not support utility adoption of advanced energy technologies.
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Juggling Approaches to Power Procurement

From batteries to blockchain, the energy sector is enjoying a period of rapid innovation with new technologies coming to market that carry the potential to upend traditional electric infrastructure and business models. Yet electric utilities and other electricity providers have been slow to adopt these novel technologies largely because they lack the information to fully weigh their options.
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Electricity Evolution: Meet the Ringmasters

When Tesla unveiled the utility-scale Powerpack battery in 2015, analysts and observers excitedly proclaimed the product’s low price point would revolutionize electric grid operations and business models as it set new cost benchmarks for energy storage. But despite the hype, the reception from utilities was tepid at best. This experience is not unique to Tesla. It leads to a big question: What’s stopping utilities from quickly pivoting to new energy technologies? Unlike other industries that can quickly adopt new technology, utilities and their regulators must make more cautious deliberations.