Top 10 Energy Institute Blog Posts of 2021 – Energy Institute Blog

Readers were drawn to recent analysis of rooftop solar panels, the Texas power crisis, and the electrification of buildings.

Over a million California households and businesses have solar panels installed on their roofs. A dozen other states such as Arizona, Texas, and Florida are following a similar path. Government policies have helped fuel this boom, but several studies have shown that policies drive up the bills of low-income households. Stakeholders are debating a new proposal from the California Public Utilities Commission that would make significant changes. The Energy Institute blog posts addressed key aspects of the debate – the role of electricity tariffs, inequality and grid benefits. Readers looking for original and clear analysis on these topics have placed several of these posts in the top 10.

In February 2021, winter storm Uri struck Texas and the surrounding areas. The energy system was badly hit, with over 4.5 million households and businesses losing their electricity. Over 200 people died during the storm. Deaths from hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning indicated the direct effects of energy disruption. Readers came to the Energy Institute blog to understand why the storm turned into an energy crisis.

Readers have also been drawn to blog posts aimed at understanding energy use in homes, especially when it comes to heating. These blog posts described the home heating landscape today and pointed out the drivers that will be important as policymakers attempt to fully electrify homes.

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#1: Can the net metering reform fix the rooftop solar cost shift?

by Severin Borenstein, 1/25/21

If we also don’t get electricity tariffs right, closing one perverse incentive can only increase another.

# 2: The Texas Electricity Crisis, New Home Buildings, and Electric Heating

by Lucas Davis, 02/11/21

No state has built as many new homes as Texas in the past decade, and most of them use electrical heat.


# 3: Solar injustice on the roof

by Severin Borenstein, 01.06.21

California’s distributed solar policy harms the poor. It is really that easy.


# 4: The way to electrification is paved with practical chargers

by James Sallee, 6/14/21

We need more and better charging infrastructure to convince the skeptics of electric vehicles.

Gas station

# 5: The tariff for clean electricity: how exactly should it work?

by James Bushnell, 8/23/21

When complex regulations hit power markets, be sure to read the fine print.


# 6: The geography of fuel oil and propane

by Lucas Davis, 11/21

Don’t forget the 11 million US households that use these fuels for heating.


# 7: To fix the electricity market, fix the natural gas market first

by James Bushnell, 3/1/21

The capacity requirements do not guarantee reliability if generators cannot obtain fuel.

frozen ice-189996_1920

#8th: What is important when it comes to electrification?

by Lucas Davis, 1/4/21

Electricity is replacing on-site fossil fuel use for US home heating, and energy prices explain why.


# 9: Will a big investment in decentralized solar energy save us billions?

by Meredith Fowlie, 7/26/21

A new study says yes. But distributed solar power is an elusive price to pay for.

Proof of a homeowner-tenant gap for electrical appliances

by Lucas Davis, 04/12/21

Tenants are more likely to have electric heaters, electric water heaters, electric stoves, and electric dryers.


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Suggested quote: Campbell, Andrew. “Top 10 Energy Institute Blog Posts of 2021” Energy Institute Blog, UC Berkeley, December 20, 2021, from 2021 /

Andrew Campbell is the executive director of the Energy Institute at Haas. Andy has worked in the energy industry throughout his career. Prior to joining the University of California, Andy worked for energy efficiency and demand response company Tendril and network management technology provider Sentient Energy. He helped both companies to find their way around the complex regulatory environment in the energy sector and to adapt their sales and marketing approaches to the needs of the utility industry. He was previously Senior Energy Advisor to Commissioner Rachelle Chong and Commissioner Nancy Ryan at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). During his time at CPUC, Andy was the leading consultant in areas such as demand response, tariff setting, network modernization and electric vehicles. Andy led successful efforts to develop and adopt policies on smart grid investment and data access, regulator for electric vehicle charging, demand management, dynamic utility pricing, and natural gas quality standards for liquefied natural gas. Andy has also worked in Citigroup’s Global Energy Group and as a reservoir engineer at ExxonMobil. Andy earned a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and economics from Rice University.

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