The November issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly featured the fifth report in Berkeley Lab’s Future Electric Utility Regulation series, Recovery of Utility Fixed Costs: Utility, Consumer, Environmental and Economist Perspectives. The article, “Rethinking Rate Design,”¹ is a round-table discussion by the report authors about recovery of utility fixed costs, from various perspectives.  The authors are: -Utility experts Lisa Wood, Institute for Electric Innovation and The Edison... Read More


We wish to announce the availability of a new public data resource, containing data records for more than 800,000 distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the United States. In conjunction with the release of this public data file, we are also soliciting suggestions from the solar industry and policy community for research questions that might be explored with this dataset.   The public data file is based on data collected and cleaned by Berkeley Lab for its annual Tracking the Sun... Read More


Berkeley Lab study shows significant potential for further turbine scaling by Ryan Wiser, Maureen Hand, Joachim Seel, Bentham Paulos The growing size of wind turbines has helped lower the cost of wind energy to the point that it is economically competitive with fossil-fuel alternatives in some locations. But can turbines continue to scale in the future, or are they running into physical or logistical constraints? Recent research published in the journal Nature Energy suggests that land-based wind... Read More


The barriers to offshore wind are formidable. Yet, after many years of delays and cost increases, there are signs of progress. Offshore wind bids coming out of Europe suggest that steep cost reductions are at hand; the most recent of those bids, for a 350 MW near-shore project off the coast of Denmark, came in at a record-low of just $67 per MWh. These and other developments hold promise for further cost reductions in the years and decades ahead. Research by Berkeley Lab offers insight into possible future... Read More


Prices for wind energy have hit rock bottom, thanks to technological advances and learning. Are the opportunities for significant additional cost reductions tapped out, or are much-lower costs still possible?  Recent research by Berkeley Lab suggests that some energy planners, analysts, and policymakers may be underestimating both the potential for and uncertainty in wind energy cost reductions. The consequence may be under-prediction of wind deployment, under-appreciation of the uncertainty in that... Read More


Staff from the Electricity Markets & Policy group are presenting their research at the annual Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Las Vegas on September 13-14, 2016. If you are attending, please attend their talks and poster presentations.    Utility Planning for a SunShot Future: Best Practices for Incorporating Distributed Solar into Utility Planning Andrew D. MillsResearch Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Wednesday, September 142:30 PM - 3:00 PMRoom: N255 LBNL and... Read More


We are pleased to announce the release of a new report: What Factors Affect the Prices of Low-Priced U.S. Solar PV Systems? A key goal for the solar industry, policymakers, and other decision makers-as exemplified by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative-is to foster continued declines in solar costs. And yet, despite impressive recent cost reductions, there remains a considerable range of installed prices for small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. Past research... Read More


As part of our Future Electric Utility Regulation series, Steve Corneli and Steve Kihm revisited the concept of natural monopoly and asked whether electric distribution utilities will remain natural monopolies if the capabilities and affordability of distributed energy technologies improve sufficiently.    Their basic conclusion: Don’t count on it.   Their work was recently featured in, an online think tank for the electric... Read More


Upcoming Webinar Setting Baselines for Planning and Evaluation of Efficiency Programs Tuesday, August 2, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM Eastern Reserve your webinar seat now at: LBNL, with funding from the Department of Energy, is offering this new webinar series designed to support states considering and implementing EM&V activities to document energy savings and other impacts of energy efficiency programs. In this webinar our panel of experts will... Read More


Solar power is already saving lives in the US. Here's how. By: David Roberts on May 19, 2016, 3:10 p.m. ET @drvox Solar power is still a fairly tiny portion of US electricity, but it is growing incredibly fast. This is exciting to people for all sorts of reasons — economic development, jobs, local/democratic/decentralized power, and just general tech-of-the-future gee-whizzery. But it's worth stepping back occasionally and reminding ourselves of the original and still... Read More