Topic: Research

Research Articles

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The Struggle to Expand Clean Energy in 2016

As the solar industry grows and energy efficiency works to do the same, 2016 brought a significant expansion of breaking news for us to cover and curate. The articles below are our top stories showing the many new and surprising developments we saw last year.

Can Venture Capital Fuel Cleantech?

A July report by MIT Energy Initiative, “Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation,” has compared the performance of venture capital (VC) in the software, medical and cleantech sectors. The results showed VC is not the right model for investments in the cleantech sector. Public funding is crucial at the beginning of projects.

Distributed Energy Can Lead to Smarter Grid Planning

It is typically a costly, capital-intensive challenge to expand traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) grid infrastructure to meet new and existing demand for electricity. Can distributed energy resources – such as solar and wind installations on residential or commercial sites – complement traditional T&D grid infrastructure in cost-effective ways?

Clean-Energy Aggregation Opens States’ Imaginations

By January 2016, New York’s Westchester County will procure clean energy for around 75,000 of its residents, according to Glenn Weinberg, manager of special projects at Joule Assets. Over 15 municipalities are banding together to aggregate their demand for cleaner power sources and lower their energy bills through competitive bidding. This demonstration project is the first implementation of community choice aggregation (CCA) in the state and will serve as a model for local energy control in New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative.

Citi Suggests Global Climate Investment Goals

On the surface, Citi’s recommendations of global climate investment goals, published in August in the report “Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth,” look deceptively simple. But a closer look at the patchwork of international regulations, legislation, and carbon markets reveals that financing clean energy in developing nations may be quite challenging to accomplish.

Split Incentives May Not Reduce Commercial Energy Efficiency’s Value

When landlords make decisions about energy efficiency but tenants pay the costs, this creates a motivational problem known as the “split incentive.” Split incentives result in smaller investments in energy efficiency than would be economically efficient otherwise. A working paper, “Energy Codes and the Landlord-Tenant Problem,” explored this issue in April.

Is the White House’s Solar Commitment on Target?

When the White House announced a multipronged solar commitment that benefits low-to-moderate-income communities, the decision did not take place in a vacuum. Although most news coverage has simply focused on the federal statement, a more in-depth look shows this thorny challenge has blocked progress for the solar industry for a long time. According to some researchers, this commitment does not provide a complete solution.