Steal This Decarbonization Plan!

Hal Harvey shows the way.

1 minute read

This Energy Insights post comes from a recent Intechange podcast Steal This Decarbonization Plan! with Hal Harvey, who is talking about his book Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy.

Good policy

  • stable, long term goals that don’t rely on repassing legislation
  • rates of change, not fixed targets
  • prices where consumers are price sensitive (i.e. industry)
  • don’t set prices - use reverse actions to auction the subsidy
  • performance standards where consumers aren’t price sensitive (i.e. transport)

Divergent learning curves

Figure 1 - Costs of photovoltaic panels have decreased with deployment (note the log scale) - Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy

Harvey defines a learning curve as how fast prices drop as volume increases. While component costs in solar and batteries have reduced significantly, much slower progress has been made on system prices. There is also variance in system costs across regions - with Germany being half of the US.

Methane - the quick fix

Methane leaks are a large and immediate climate change problem - a leak of only 3-4% makes gas as bad as coal! It’s also an easy fix - it’s a plumbing problem.

Better than batteries

While storage will be crucial in the decarbonization journey, interconnection and demand side response are seen as quicker wins. Interconnection is especially effective if the grids are already physically connected, and the only work needed is to interconnect the markets.

Thanks for reading!