Energy and Resources Group Spring 2014 Colloquium Series (ER295)
36 Years and Counting: What Will It Take to Green the Grid
Environmental Studies Department
UC Santa Cruz
Climate change has now moved from theory to reality, making calls to decarbonize the electricity and transportation sectors an urgent and pressing need. Short-term strategies calling for incremental reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have stalled in both Congress and in international negotiations, though, and California’s experiment with AB 32 and a suite of associated policies will run only through 2020. Moreover, AB 32 will achieve only a fraction of the reductions that are required by 2050: more fundamental decarbonization of the electricity and transportation sectors is required between now and 2050 if humanity is to avoid catastrophic disruption to the climate system. This talk will review what worked and what hasn’t worked over the past 36 years in greening the electricity grid to highlight the successful elements necessary for a transformation. It will also suggest the limits of conventional policy approaches that rely primarily on tax credits, cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, renewable portfolio standards, and/or feed-in-tariffs. It will conclude with an ambitious policy agenda to green the grid so that the electricity and transportation systems of 2050 can be powered primarily by renewable sources.
Tim Duane is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From 1991-2009 he served as an assistant and then associate professor of environmental planning and policy at the University of California, Berkeley with joint appointments in the department of City and Regional Planning and the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. He has been an affiliate of the Energy and Resources Group since 1991. Tim has worked in the renewable energy sector as a generation planning engineer at PG&E, as a board member of a start-up concentrating solar power company, as a scholar in both planning and law journals, and as a consultant to private and public utilities, independent power producers (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, landfill gas recovery), environmental organizations, financial institutions, and both state and federal agencies. He holds A.B., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a licensed California attorney.