Top 10 Energy Institute Blog Posts of 2021
Readers were drawn to timely analysis on rooftop solar, the Texas power crisis and building electrification.
Over one million California households and businesses have put solar panels on their roofs. A dozen other states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida are following a similar trajectory. Government policies have helped fuel this boom, but multiple studies have pointed out that these policies are raising the bills of lower income households. Stakeholders are debating a new proposal from the California Public Utilities Commission that would make major changes. Energy Institute blog posts tackled important aspects of the debate – the role of electricity rates, inequality and grid benefits. Readers looking for original and clear analyses on these topics propelled several of these posts into the top 10.
In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri pounded Texas and surrounding regions. The energy system was hit hard, with over 4.5 million homes and businesses losing power. Over 200 people died during the storm. Deaths from hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning pointed to the direct impact of energy disruptions. Readers came to the Energy Institute Blog for help understanding why the storm became an energy crisis.
Readers were also drawn to blog posts aimed at understanding energy use in homes, especially heating. These blog posts described the landscape of home heating today and pointed to drivers that will be important as policymakers seek to fully electrify homes.
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#1: Can Net Metering Reform Fix the Rooftop Solar Cost Shift?
by Severin Borenstein, 1/25/21
If we don’t also get electricity rates right, closing one perverse incentive may just increase another.
#2: The Texas Power Crisis, New Home Construction, and Electric Heating
by Lucas Davis, 2/11/21
No U.S. state has built as many new homes as Texas over the last decade and most of them use electric heat.
#3: Rooftop Solar Inequity
by Severin Borenstein, 6/1/21
California’s distributed solar policy hurts the poor. It really is that simple.
#4: The Road to Electrification is Paved with Convenient Chargers
by James Sallee, 6/14/21
We need more and better charging infrastructure to win over electric vehicle skeptics.
#5: The Clean Electricity Payment Plan: How Exactly Is This Supposed to Work?
by James Bushnell, 8/23/21
When complex regulations meet power markets, be sure to read the fine print.
#6: The Geography of Heating Oil and Propane
by Lucas Davis, 11/1/21
Don’t forget about the 11 million U.S. households that heat with these fuels.
#7: To Fix the Power Market, First Fix the Natural Gas Market
by James Bushnell, 3/1/21
Capacity requirements don’t assure reliability when generators can’t get fuel.
#8: What Matters for Electrification?
by Lucas Davis, 1/4/21
Electricity is replacing on-site fossil fuel consumption for U.S. home heating, and energy prices explain why.
#9: Will Investing Big in Distributed Solar Save Us Billions?
by Meredith Fowlie, 7/26/21
A new study says yes. But distributed solar benefits are an elusive prize.
#10: Evidence of a Homeowner-Renter Gap for Electric Appliances
by Lucas Davis, 4/12/21
Renters are more likely to have electric heating, electric hot water heaters, electric stoves, and electric dryers.
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Suggested citation: Campbell, Andrew. “Top 10 Energy Institute Blog Posts of 2021” Energy Institute Blog, UC Berkeley, December 20, 2021, https://energyathaas.wordpress.com/2021/12/20/top-10-energy-institute-blog-posts-of-2021/
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.
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