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Top 10 Blog Posts for 2019

Millennials, carbon pricing, falling solar prices and Greta Thunberg topped our most-read list.

I’m often asked, “Who actually writes the Energy Institute’s blog posts?” These questioners expect to hear that we have a marketing and communications team toiling away, churning out blog posts. That’s not the case. The authors you see listed are indeed the authors! The Energy Institute’s faculty affiliates are committed to putting out new, topical and thoughtful blog posts every week. 

Furthermore, every post is a team effort. EI researchers review each others’ drafts and challenge the authors to sharpen their analysis. Then, once a post is released, a vigorous discussion begins among our readers – in the comments section, on social media, over email, in offices.

This year was another record year for the blog. It received its one millionth view! Thank you for following the blog and sharing your favorite posts with your extended networks. 

What topics should we explore in 2020? Make your suggestions in the Comments section.

Now, the top 10 blog posts for 2019:

#1: Millennials Grab the Wheel and Step on the Gas

New evidence shows millennials are not so different after all.
(Lucas Davis, 2/25/19)

#2: The Trouble with Carbon Pricing

It has a face that only economists can love?
(Meredith Fowlie, 4/29/19)

#3: What Drove Solar PV Price Reductions?

A new book explores the precipitous decline.
(Catherine Wolfram, 9/9/19)

#4: The Economic Case For Greta Thunberg

A young “Climate Warrior” sails into New York with a powerful message.
(Maximilian Auffhammer, 8/26/19)

#5: Should Electric Vehicle Drivers Pay a Mileage Tax?

Electric vehicle drivers don’t pay the gasoline tax so pay less for roads.
(Lucas Davis and James Sallee, 4/8/19)

#6: What’s the Deal with the Green New Deal?

The economics of the emerging platform.
(Catherine Wolfram, 1/7/19)

#7: How Much Electricity Consumption Is Too Little?

Energy efficiency world views collide.
(James Bushnell, 6/3/19)

#8: Would Non-Profit Utilities Cure What Ails California Electricity?

Converting an investor-owned utility to a non-profit is no silver bullet.
(Severin Borenstein, 11/12/19)

#9: Pricing Carbon Isn’t Enough

A greenhouse gas tax alone doesn’t solve the global need for low-cost alternative technologies.
(Severin Borenstein, 4/15/19)

#10: My New Pollution Monitor: Gimmick or Game Changer?

The sensor revolution takes on air pollution.
(Meredith Fowlie, 1/2/19)

We’ll be back in 2020! Join our email list to make sure you don’t miss a post.


Andrew G Campbell View All

Andrew Campbell is the Executive Director of the Energy Institute at Haas. Andy has worked in the energy industry for his entire professional career. Prior to coming to the University of California, Andy worked for energy efficiency and demand response company, Tendril, and grid management technology provider, Sentient Energy. He helped both companies navigate the complex energy regulatory environment and tailor their sales and marketing approaches to meet the utility industry’s needs. Previously, he was Senior Energy Advisor to Commissioner Rachelle Chong and Commissioner Nancy Ryan at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). While at the CPUC Andy was the lead advisor in areas including demand response, rate design, grid modernization, and electric vehicles. Andy led successful efforts to develop and adopt policies on Smart Grid investment and data access, regulatory authority over electric vehicle charging, demand response, dynamic pricing for utilities and natural gas quality standards for liquefied natural gas. Andy has also worked in Citigroup’s Global Energy Group and as a reservoir engineer with ExxonMobil. Andy earned a Master in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and bachelors degrees in chemical engineering and economics from Rice University.

8 thoughts on “Top 10 Blog Posts for 2019 Leave a comment

  1. I agree that marginal and incremental impacts are important. I wonder if it would be fair to say that, at any given moment, all Load-Serving Entities in Northern California have the same generator(s) as marginal resource(s), at least in the short term.

    I may be wrong, but my understanding is that, at any given moment, the CAISO has a set of generators ready to ramp up or down to respond to changes in total demand. If, for example, demand increases by, say, 50 MW over the course of six seconds, the CAISO responds by ramping up some of those generators. When the demand increase occurs, the CAISO has no way of knowing how much of the increased demand comes from customers of EBCE or PG&E or MCE or whomever. After the fact, accountants come in and figure out who must pay how much to whom.

    I think that’s accurate, but I welcome constructive criticism. Any EEs out there?

    Thank you,

    Mark Meldgin

    • Yes, the hourly load balancing resources are the same across LSEs in the CAISO BA. But that’s not the relevant measure for GHG emissions from load building. If we used that metric over the last decade, we would have concluded that GHG emissions would have increased (or at least stayed static as loads have been flat since 2009) because the marginal emission rate in the CAISO has been about 1,000 lbs per MWH (or even rising as gas units have become operationally less efficient as they run less). Instead, we have seen total electricity emissions fall dramatically over the last decade as we have added wind and solar power. With solar rooftops, adding load and increased self generation are now intertwined. How we measure incremental emissions has changed from the old paradigm and we need to explore how we should measure these with a new paradigm.

  2. Oops, near the end, I used “PSD” when I meant “PCL”. Sorry. PSD is Power Source Disclosure, which is the CEC program encompassing the Power Content Label or PCL.

  3. I suggest a blog post about calculation of CO2 emission rates of electricity supply mixes. The California Energy Commission has modified its Power Content Label (PCL) guidelines and will use them to begin showing CO2 emission rates in public reports. A July 2019 presentation (link below) by East Bay Community Energy’s CEO, Nick Chaset, suggests a sizeable difference between rates calculated using The Climate Registry (TCR) guidelines and those using the CEC’s modified PCL guidelines:

    “If the new PCL guidelines were applied to EBCE 2018 actual procurement, EBCE’s 2018 Bright Choice CO2 emissions factor would shift from 101 lbs/MWh [using the TCR method] to 337 lbs/MWh –which equates to a shift from 91% CO2-free to 70% CO2-free.”

    The use of PCL guidelines might make EBCE’s Bright Choice, at 70% CO2-free, appear twice as “dirty” as the standard PG&E power mix, which the CEC shows as 85% CO2-free.

    EBCE and PG&E jointly issued a flyer on their 2018 power mixes and average monthly residential bills. EBCE’s Bright Choice includes 38% “unspecified sources of power”. Treatment of that 38% is, I suspect, the root of the difference between CO2 emission rates from application of the TCR and PSD guidelines. The flyer is at:

    The presentation by EBCE’s Nick Chaset is here:

    Thank you.

    • I second that, but focus on the difference in marginal and incremental impacts that affect emissions. That’s the key to understanding true long run emission reductions.

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