Author Archives: Severin Borenstein

Double Counting Virtue

If you’ve installed solar at your home and are now basking in the I’m-saving-the-planet warm glow, you may be in for a splash of ice water.  There’s a good chance someone else has purchased your halo and is wearing it … Continue reading

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Billing Tweaks Don’t Make Net Metering Good Policy

Just before Christmas, an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission put a shiny package with a big bow under the tree for distributed solar PV companies, and gave the state’s regulated utilities a lump of coal. That … Continue reading

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If You Like Your Time-invariant Electricity Price, You Can Keep It

Shouldn’t a 2000-square-foot house in San Francisco cost the same as in Omaha?  If you answered yes, then time-varying electricity pricing won’t make much sense to you either.   And you are probably puzzled, or outraged, at how much more expensive … Continue reading

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Why are California’s Gasoline Prices So High?

“What?” you may be saying “Gas prices are lower than they have been in a long time.”   That’s true, even in California, but that just reflects the collapse of world oil prices.  And only partially.  You see, while oil prices … Continue reading

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The Decline of Sloppy Electricity Rate Making

Back in the “good old days” most customers had no choice about how to buy electricity and a regulator’s life was pretty easy.  The utility needed sufficient revenue to cover its costs, but the regulator approving rates was mostly just … Continue reading

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Winners and Losers from Flattening Tiered Electricity Prices

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving closer to major changes in the steeply increasing-block residential electricity rates that the state has had since the 2000-01 California electricity crisis.  This Friday the Commissioners may decide to significantly flatten the tiered … Continue reading

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What Put California at the Top of Residential Solar?

California leads the nation in residential solar photovoltaic installations.  In fact, nearly half of all systems installed have been in the Golden State. So why is California the leader?  Sure, California has plenty of sunshine, but there are many other … Continue reading

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Is the Future of Electricity Generation Really Distributed?

Renewable energy technologies have made outstanding progress in the last decade.  The cost of solar panels has plummeted.  Wind turbines have become massively more efficient.  In many places some forms of renewable energy are cost competitive.  And yet…just as these … Continue reading

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In Praise of Cleaner-burning Gasoline

Last week was spring break at UC Berkeley, so I took a few days off for a very pleasant vacation, walking by the ocean with friends and enjoying the beauty of California. As a result, I wasn’t able to be … Continue reading

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The Job Creation Shuffle

Renewable energy proponents and advocates of the Keystone pipeline finally agree on something: that the right way to count “job creation” is to focus narrowly on the jobs in the industry they want to boost and ignore the overall impact … Continue reading

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