Join
Search

Laura Wisland

http://blog.ucsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/laura-wisland-95px.jpg

About the author: Laura Wisland is a senior energy analyst and an expert on California renewable energy policies. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. See Laura's full bio.

Which Electricity Source Will Best Weather the Drought in California?

The late-March storms in California gave the Sierra snowpack a belated boost, but the state is still bracing for dry times ahead. This was confirmed by the Department of Water Resource’s April 1 snow survey, one of the closest watched of the year because it marks the expected end of the wet season. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: , ,   

Bookmark and Share

Will Tesla be a Game-Changer for Battery Energy Storage?

Last week Tesla, an electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, made national news by announcing it intends to launch a “Gigafactory” to produce lithium-ion batteries for at least 500,000 vehicles by 2020. This is no small potatoes. The level of battery production Tesla envisions is equivalent to the lithium ion batteries produced worldwide last year. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Largest Solar Power Plant in the World Turns On

The largest solar plant in the world, a 392 MW concentrated solar power tower in California’s Mojave Desert, began generating electricity from all three of its power towers the day before Valentine’s Day. The timing seems fitting, because the project is [almost] guaranteed to touch your heart, one way or another. For some, the Ivanpah plant has made hearts flutter in excitement. After all, the construction of the plant is a huge step forward in our nation’s effort to increase technology options for supplies of pollution-free electricity. The plant has the generation capacity of a mid-sized natural gas plant, and will make enough electricity to power 140,000 homes. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: ,   

Bookmark and Share

Powering California with 50% Renewable Energy by 2030: New Analysis Shows It Can Be Done

Last week, a new analysis was released that explored the technical, environmental, and economic implications of raising California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. I’m excited to report that although the study illuminates the challenges of installing unprecedented amounts of renewables on the grid, it is technically possible. Moreover, California has tools in hand today to scale up renewables, and is developing programs and policies that will continue to lower the cost and technical challenges of doing so. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: ,   

Bookmark and Share

Renewable Energy, an Aging Electricity Grid, and the Solutions that Matter

The LA Times recently wrote an article about the U.S. electricity grid that inaccurately likens the challenges we face deploying large amounts of renewable energy to serious grid problems caused by major storms, cyber-attacks, or other forms of sabotage. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

Bookmark and Share

How Should California Design its Renewable Energy Future?

California’s landmark renewable energy policy, the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), establishes a clear blueprint for clean energy investment in the short-run: by 2020, all utilities are required to source 33 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewables. The big question now is what happens after that? What role should renewables play in California’s long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050? Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

Tags: , ,   

Bookmark and Share

Arizonans Stand Up for Solar Power

In July, I blogged about a proposal that Arizona Public Service (APS) submitted to its regulator, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), to dramatically reduce incentives to install solar panels on homes and businesses. On Wednesday more than 100 people descended on ACC to protest it. The event kicked off two days of hearings that will decide whether to maintain Arizona’s existing net metering policy, which allows solar customers to receive credit on their electricity bills for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by their solar panels. Read More

Categories: Energy  

Tags: , , , , , ,   

Bookmark and Share

California Jumpstarts Energy Storage

One of the biggest challenges of relying on large quantities of renewable energy has to do with the fact that we can’t control when renewables actually generate electricity. When the wind blows, we get electricity, period. When the sun sets, our solar panels cannot provide the electricity we need at night. That is, of course, unless we capture the energy and store it for later use. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Electricity Rate Hikes in California? Not the Jolt Clean Energy Opponents Claim.

A coalition of industry trade groups that have long opposed California’s clean energy policies funded a report about a month ago that blamed California’s rising electricity rates on — you guessed it — California’s clean energy policies. Since the California Energy Commission just updated its electricity and natural gas demand forecast, which contains revised estimates for rate increases that are 15-20 percent lower than original predictions (see slide 3 of Tuesday’s presentation), I thought it was time for a blog on the subject of renewables and rates. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Latest Data on Solar Shows Price Declines through 2012

According to the latest Tracking the Sun report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), prices for installed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems fell between 6% and 14% in 2012. The report also contains a 2013 snapshot for California systems, where prices fell by an additional 10% to 15% in the first 6 months. Read More

Bookmark and Share