Tag: Energy Finance

Spatial Energy Efficiency Patterns in New York and Implications for Energy Demand and the Rebound Effect

The confluence of the threat of global climate change, increasing energy prices, and widespread adoption of low-carbon technologies have been cited as key drivers of the energy transition. Two of the scenarios exemplified by future rates of uptake of energy transition based on expectations of change in demand, and socially incremental choices that define the transition in terms of energy consumption and consumer behavior illustrate potential results under the current business-as-usual paradigm. An important area that has been overlooked is how spatial diffusion of energy-efficiency policies or complementarities across policy mixes can yield direct measurable benefits that improve overall energy policy design and performance measurement.

In our new paper (co-authored with Dr. John Byrne) titled Spatial Energy Efficiency Patterns in New York and Implications for Energy Demand and the Rebound Effect, published in Energy Sources, Part B: Economics Planning and Policy, we posit the inquiry of how to address this quandary as one of spatial dynamism in policy design: promoting spatial sensitivity in technology-or sector-specific energy-efficiency policies to support increased diffusion, information sharing, and accelerating the adoption rates of energy efficiency measures.

In this study, we applied the spatial modeling (i.e., spatial Durbin error model-SDEM) approach to analyze adoption trends for residential energy-efficiency measures. To do so, we evaluated the potential for local socioeconomic and building performance variables which influence the effectiveness of energy efficiency policies and diffusion patterns in each location in the long-term. We investigated this potential for New York state at a ZIP code level to show the ubiquitous promise and potential of this conceptualization to improve urban energy planning and management. To arrive at a practical strategy, we investigated the policy implications for energy demand and the rebound effect.

Our study shows the significant influence of the built environment and jurisdictional boundaries and their effect on energy transition capacities. As such, the paper makes a compelling case for a fundamental reconsideration of energy policy design in New York and target setting to account for specific conditions in the built environment that may constrain the uptake of energy-efficient technologies in a given jurisdiction.

In a speech commemorating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2009, former U.S. secretary of state, Henry Kissinger recalled how the energy crisis of 1970s awakened the world “to a new challenge that would require both creative thinking and international cooperation.” He explained that as “global demand continues to grow, investment cycles, technologies, and supporting infrastructure will be critical.” As a top U.S. diplomat in the 1970s, Kissinger is credited with promoting energy security as a third pillar of the international order through a trifecta of initiatives to bolster incentives to energy producers to increase their supplies, encourage rational and prudent consumption of existing supplies, and improve development of alternative energy sources. These efforts contributed to the establishment of the IEA in 1974 as a principal institutional mechanism for enhancing global energy cooperation among industrialized nations. Read more>>

The energy market in the United States is undergoing a dramatic transformation, driven by technological advancement, market dynamics, and better policies and laws—none of which was a decade ago. Venture capitalists made huge profits from the computing boom of the 1980s, the internet boom of the 1990s, and now think the next boom will happen on the back of energy. These past booms, however, were fed by cheap energy: coal was cheap; natural gas was low-priced; and apart from the events following the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution, oil was comparatively cheap. However, in the space of the past decade, all that has changed. New resource finds, primarily shale resources from states such as Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, exert pressure on the prices of oil and gas. At the same time, there is a growing concern of negative externalities associated with these fossil fuels. Read more>>

President Obama has released a $4 trillion budget proposal for FY 2016. It contains a range of programs designed to encourage deployment of the next generation clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. Here are the top five things to know about the budget in terms of clean energy and environmental investments.

1. Clean Power State Incentive Fund
The U.S. President proposes a $4 billion incentive fund to encourage states to make faster and deeper cuts in carbon emissions from electricity, than would be required under the Clean Power Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to administer the Clean Power State Incentive Fund, which would enable states to invest in activities that advance and complement the agency’s Clean Power Plan. The administration outlines several goals, including addressing impacts from environmental pollution in low-income communities to supporting businesses to catalyze investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and combined heat and power. The budget also includes $239 million to support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions programs at the EPA. In particular, $25 million would be used to help states develop their Clean Power Plan strategies. Read more>>

Photo: Shutterstock

Talk by Jochen Harnisch, division head of the competence center environment and climate at KFW, at Stanford‘s Precourt Institute for Energy on financing required for global green energy transformation.

KFW is the development bank of Germany and Dr. Harnisch coordinates strategy and product development for climate protection and adaptation to climate change in developing and industrializing countries.

In the recent past, a booming market, driven by technological change, has spearheaded economic growth. The world’s venture capitalists made huge profits from the computing boom of the 1980s, the internet boom of the 1990s and now think the next boom will happen on the back of energy: renewable energy. These past booms, however, were fed by cheap energy: coal was cheap; natural gas was cheap; and apart from the 1970s, oil was comparatively cheap. However, in the space of the past half a decade, all that has changed. Oil has become more expensive and there is a growing concern that the oil supply may soon peak as consumption rises, known supplies dwindle, and new reserves become difficult to find.

The possibility of plugging your car into an electric socket, rather than filling your tank at the gas drive-ins, no longer looks like technological madness. Wind-and-solar powered alternative no longer looks so costly by comparison to natural gas, whose prices have risen substantially in sympathy with oil. Coal remains cheap, however, its extraction damages ecosystems by destroying ecological habitats. Additionally, combustion of fossil fuels pollutes the air by emitting harmful substances into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide that contribute to global warming. Oil spills, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and leakages at the extraction points destabilize marine ecosystems and kill aquatic life. Moreover, utility firms seeking to avoid political and capital costs of building new power plants have began to focus more on energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies that guarantee less harmful emissions. These underlying issues have opened up capacity gap and opportunity for solar, wind, and other low-carbon technologies, and are the main drivers of growth and consumption of clean energy… full article available at PM Global Sustainability Community of Practice


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