Climate Change

The Politics and Economics of Obama's New Climate Program

          The Supreme Court's blockbuster decisions on voting rights and same-sex marriage attracted most of the attention, but President Obama also moved decisively last week, on climate change.  The facts that drove the President are scientifically undisputed.  Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the earth's atmosphere continue to raise global temperatures; and without serious action, the long-term effects on sea levels and climate could be catastrophic.   Yet, climate-change deniers on the far right have a tight hold on a majority of congressional Republicans, who now won't even acknowledge the threat.  With no hope of reaching a reasonable accommodation, the President put forward new regulations that don't need their approval -- and ultimately will be less effective and more costly for average Americans than the alternatives which Congress won't consider. 

            For a while now, most climate experts and economists have broadly agreed that the most efficient and effective way to reduce these carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the direct approach:  Raise the price of fuels based on the GHG emissions they produce, and so raise the price of all goods and services based on the emissions created to produce them.  In principle, this approach could attract bipartisan support.  It rests on one of the bedrock tenets of conservatism, the power of prices in free markets, as well as the liberal disposition to create national programs to improve the general welfare.  Yes, the most straight-forward way to achieve such climate friendly fuel prices is apply a dreaded tax to all forms of energy based on their carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHG emissions.  But even that, in more placid political times, could be a basis for attracting broad support, since the revenues from a climate tax could be dedicated to cutting payroll, corporate and other, more economically-distorting taxes.

            The truth is that every other serious approach to climate - from a cap-and-trade system to the President's new regulations - also would raise prices:  Directly or indirectly, they make it more expensive to use fuels that emit more than their share of greenhouse gases, relative to other fuels that damage the climate less.  Over time, those price differences should gradually move millions of businesses and tens of millions of households to favor the cheaper, more climate-friendly fuels and technologies, and the goods and services produced using them.

            The sobering news is, we don't have much time.  Scientists warn that however broadly we might adopt the current generation of cleaner fuels and technologies, the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other GHG will soon reach levels that will produce serious climate changes.  However, the economics of setting a clear and hefty price on carbon and other GHG would also create new incentives that could extend the frontiers of climate technology.  If energy companies, scientists and entrepreneurs can be certain about the price of carbon and other greenhouse gases, looking forward - if they know how much more it will cost people to use climate-damaging fuels, compared to climate-friendly ones - that would create strong incentives to develop and adopt the next generation of climate-friendly fuels and technologies. 

            The question is, how efficient and effective are each of these approaches, and which is most likely to spur new advances?   The question highlights the costs of the extreme right's current hold on congressional Republicans, which drives the political stalemate on climate policy and has left President Obama with few options apart from executive regulation.  His new regulatory agenda has three parts.  It includes, first, higher energy-efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, aimed at reducing energy use whether clean or otherwise.  There also are new loan guarantees for projects to reduce or isolate the greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuels, and additional grants to develop more efficient biofuels.  These guarantees and grants are designed to promote greater use of more climate-friendly technologies and fuels by reducing the cost of capital to develop them.  While these measures provide a sense of the administration moving on many fronts, their combined impact on the climate crisis will be modest. 

There is one measure that could matter a great deal more:  The President has directed the EPA to develop new CO2 and other GHG emission standards for existing power plants.  This follows EPA regulations proposed last year that set similar standards for new power plants.  The logic is straight-forward:  Set standards that will force utilities to rapidly shift from coal to natural gas and renewable fuels.  This makes sense, since the use of cheap coal to generate electricity accounts for about half of worldwide carbon and other GHG.  Shifting to natural gas worldwide would cut life-cycle GHG emissions by 20 percent, and shifting to renewable fuels would reduce those emissions by as much as 40 percent.

            There is no doubt that sufficient regulation could move the United States to a path under which our GHG emissions would decline in a sustained way.  But using regulation in this way will cost Americans a great deal more than a carbon tax with the same result.  Under the new regulation, existing power plants will have to develop and adopt new investments that meet a new, uniform standard by reducing their emissions from fossil fuels or converting their plants to use cleaner fuels.  To begin, monitoring and enforcing such regulation will cost a lot more than collecting a tax.  More important, the program suffers from the inefficiencies of most regulation, because some utilities will be able to meet the regulation much more cheaply than others, based on the state of their current plants.  For example, plant A could reduce its emissions by a required unit by investing $1,000,000, while plant B could reduce its emissions by the same unit for $250,000, and by two units for $500,000.  So, reducing emissions by two units under the regulation will cost $1,250,000, while plant B could achieve the same result for the climate under a tax or a cap-and-trade system for $500,000.  Under all of these alternatives, most of the costs are passed along to the ratepayers and consumers.  But a tax with offsetting tax reductions could return much of those costs to everyone.  Based on a simulation from several years ago, those costs could average some $1,500 per-household, year after year. 

            Finally, while the new regulations should spur technological innovations to enable utilities to meet the standard more efficiently, the incentive to innovate will dissipate once the standard is met.  By contrast, the economic incentives to develop and adopt cleaner fuels and technologies never go away under an emissions tax, since every incremental advance would reduce the tax and, with it, the price of energy. 

            This past weekend, President Obama also devoted his weekly address to his new climate program.  He deserves credit for refusing to be cowed by his opponents' intransigence.  He could truly elevate his presidency, however, by taking the case for a carbon/GHG tax with offsetting tax cuts to the country, and beating his opponents on one of the most fateful challenges we face today. 

This post was originally published in Dr. Shapiro's blog


What's Next for Clean Energy

This past weekend, I attended the Aspen Institute's Clean Energy Roundtable, an annual gathering of business, political and policy leaders working in clean energy. Inspired by the many insights and ideas presented, here are my thoughts on the state of clean energy today and what lies ahead. 

First the good news.  Prices of key clean energy technologies are plummeting, bringing many technologies such as distributed solar and energy storage closer and closer to mass deployment.  The cost of solar panels today is about 20% below that of a year ago.  And it should continue dropping for the forseeable future. In other words, the performance/price ratio is improving exponentially, like computer chips if not quite as fast and for different reasons, cost economies for the most part as opposed to breakthrough technologies.  The main driver of the plummeting costs is volume and successful efforts by the Chinese government to vertically integrate the Chinese solar industry--that now supplies over half of the world's solar panels.  (In advanced thin films, costs per watt are also coming down.)  Even more dramatic price drops are occurring in battery storage across a range of chemistries with prices halving in the the last year.  Plummeting prices that translate to rising performance are good news for developers, electric car-makers and the global industry at large.

The story is more complicated, however, in the United States where we are in what might be described as the best and worst of times.  This past year saw torrid growth in solar deployment in the US with solar capacity doubling; Wind installations also grew and wind is now a very competitive source of power.  Solar--already competitive with subsidies and in some markets--will be very competitive in several years.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that solar generation still supplies only .2% of US electricity and, what's more, growth has been driven by the 1603 provision in the tax law that allows tax credits to be redeemed for cash.  This provision expires on December 31 this year. Since the financial crisis, tax credits deals to build everything from affordable housing to energy have exceeded the pool of capital from investors seeking to shelter profits.  That means tax credits absent the 1603 provision can be worthless.  With extension of Section 1603 uncertain , the solar industry may face significant challenges beginning this winter.

Similarly, on the wind side, the end of the 1603 credit would take a toll and the production tax credit for wind, itself, expires at the end of next year. While companies are scrambling to start projects before these deadlines pass, afterwards activity may fall of the proverbial cliff.  In short, while global fundamentals for clean energy remain strong, the sector remains quite sensitive to government subsidy.  In the US with subsidy likely to to change and-especially with gas prices likely to stay low as more shale gas comes onstream, we may see more clean energy activity shift overseas.  (One potential fix to this problem: moving clean energy off "subsidies" and giving them equal access to the master limited partnership tax break that extractive industries like oil and gas enjoy.)  Cheap American shale gas could nicely complement intermittent, renewable energy, but effortst to bring the technologies together have lagged.

Indeed, despite intense focus by Silicon Valley and the support of the US government, the US is not catching up with Europe or China on clean energy and in many measures, we are falling further behind.  A few years ago, Germany adopted an export promotion plan that included factories as exports.  It exported gas turbine and solar panel factories to China which is how China has so rapidly come to dominate many areas of clean manufacturing.  The Germans have done well selling machine tools to the Chinese while creating demand (and green power) at home through an aggressive feed in tariff  The US, however, except for a few bright spots like Applied Materials that makes equipment to manufacture panels, First Solar, a thin film manufacturer, here and there innovators like Sun Edison and Tesla--and a few large companies such as GE and IBM, has yet to find its way.

Why?  Unlike Germany that has deep credentials in improving manufacturing incrementally, we have excelled through innovating and creating new industries. For example, France Telecom deployed the minitel years  before America  went online but US companies ultimately came to dominate online technology once we created the open Internet platform that allowed yankee entreprenurship to flourish.  Yet despite developing scores of breakthrough energy technologies in our national labs and robust funding of clean energy companies, as I have written before, clean tech innovators have run up against the brick wall of a regulatory system that funnels purchasing decisions to regulated utilities.  The latter are dis-incented by law to invest in new technologies.  Meanwhile, in many states, the consumer remains locked out of the action entirely behind the Iron Curtain of the electricity meter. The sector is still attracting capital but time is running out to upgrade the regulatory structure to what I have described as Electricity 2.0 to create large, gatekeeper-free platforms that reward innovation and investment.

If there is one strong positive on the clean energy front, it is that the consumer has been given a small seat at the table, notably through the introduction this year of the first two electric cars, the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, and in the form of the proliferation of direct generation of electricity, primarily from solar.  The electric car is a technology that can engage the consumer on the ultimate playing field of new, more,  better.  However, if the the cars fail to thrill, clean tech will experience a potentially huge setback.  For that reason making electric cars and charging infrastructure work has to be a key priority for the industry.

More broadly, the once almighty American Consumer who has not only driven domestic growth in recent decades by controlling a huge chunk of GDP but also funded the development of the Pacific rim, has been the missing force in the clean energy sector.  Consumers are prohibited from directly buying clean energy by law in many states in contrast to communications or the Internet where consumer demand drives rapid product life cycles and profits at a speed in synch with venture capital.

Indeed, the write once, make money everywhere, model of the Internet is providing stiff competition for capital to clean tech where local regulations and the gate-keeping role of utilities can sap the energies of even the best funded, most visionary entrepreneurs.

Nonetheless, my final takeaway was that while challenges abound, clean energy remains one of the largest, most important and potentially, most transformative projects of the 21st Century.   Our job is to engage the consumer, sweep away barriers and play to America's strengths in innovation, entrepreneurship and out-of-the box thinking  in the face of obstacles.

What's Next on Energy and Climate

There has been a good deal of chatter and hand-wringing lately about the Ryan Lizza New Yorker piece which tries to tick-tock how cap and trade went off a cliff.  Yet for those of us who are biased towards what we can do outside the Beltway and from the bottom-up, it seems like a good time to review some of the strategic actions we can take that don't just depend on Congressional kumbaya alone.

Here is a short memo laying out 5 supplemental but decidedly big strategies -- all of which are compatible with continuing the fight for a comprehensive climate bill. 

Republicans Refuse to Support DREAM Act Imperiling Important Procedural First Vote

With a vote on the motion to proceed to Defense Re-Authorization coming as early as Tuesday, Republican Senators have indicated that they would not vote to move forward because the legislation contains The DREAM Act and other controversial amendments.

J. Taylor Rushing of The Hill has the full story here.

Among the Republicans who will not vote to proceed, Senator Lindsay Graham (NC) has become an outspoken critic of passing the legislation as an amendment to the Defense Re-Authorization bill.

“This is rank politics,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has previously been an ally to Democrats on immigration reform. “There’s no way I’m going to vote for the DREAM Act in isolation on the defense bill. And if they think I’m the problem, they’re wrong. I will support good, comprehensive immigration reform, but not like this.”

Republican Senator Robert Bennett (UT) feels similarly on the issue:

“I support the DREAM Act as free standing legislation, but putting it in a bill that has a number of objectionable aspects is not something I support,” Bennett said in a statement. “If [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] brings it to the floor as a stand-alone bill, I will vote for it.”

Add Senator John Cornyn (TX) to that list. Despite the fact that he represents a state that is 36.9% Hispanic and has constituents who would benefit from the DREAM Act, he too opposes the bill:

“I’m for comprehensive reform, and it’s a mistake just to carve out one little piece of that and pass it independently,” Cornyn said. “Frankly, that’s one of the most sympathetic portions of immigration reform, and I’ve always thought it’s one of the engines that helps pull the train when it comes to other aspects of the issue. If it passes as a stand-alone, it will take the wind out of the sails to do other things we need to do on immigration.”

Republicans are not alone in being skittish about passing the DREAM Act key Democrats have indicated that they are not sure how they will vote on the legislation:

Democrats helped block the bill three years ago when it fell eight votes short on a procedural motion. While some Republicans supported that motion, eight Democrats voted no, including the late Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.).

Five of those senators — Conrad, Dorgan, McCaskill, Pryor and Landrieu — told The Hill this week they haven’t made up their minds about this week’s vote.

Introducing Clare Giesen

It is my pleasure to announce the arrival of a new NDNer this past week, Clare Giesen who will coordinate and direct our new Electricity 2.0 initiative.   Clare joing our team is one more sign of the momentum emerging around E2.0 as new consensus is emerging in the clean energy community that the outdated architecture of the electricity sector is itself a barrier to innovation and clean technology.

Clare brings to her new role at NDN a wealth of high level energy experience.  She served as White House Liason in the US Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration working on such important issues as electricity restructuring and incentives for renewable energy.  She served as a senior advisor in the Rural Utilities Service within the Department of Agriculture, helping to secure grants for renewable energy for rural cooperatives.  A native of Texas, she served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Michael Andrews. She comes to us from a position as Executive Director of the National Women's Political Caucus.  We are excited and happy to have her on board as part of the E2.0 team.

The postponement of action by Congress on climate legislation this year only underscores the need for new creative approaches to accelerating the development and deployment of new energy technologies, nowhere more than in the electricity sector which is responsible for a large share of pollutants from fossil fuels yet is also on the brink of a clean technology revolution.

This fall, NDN's E2.0 project has an ambitious agenda to hold events on Electricity 2.0, bring together more stakeholders and advance understanding of the electricity network, its potential and what policy changes can accelerate Electricity 2.0 to unleash a renewable revolution.  We are going to be looking specifically at barriers to free trade in electricity, barriers to microgrids, new platforms for economic activity around enterprise power, how to build more redundancy and capacity into the network to improve resilience how to how to advance the Smart Grid, and how to accelerate the uptake of renewables.

I encourage everyone in the NDN community to get to know clare.  You can reach her by email at


In the POLITICO Arena: Can Climate Change Legislation Pass This Year?

On the POLITICO Arena, we responded to the question:

Can climate change legislation pass this year?

What elements, if any, would you like to see included? And what climate change legislative proposals do you find so distasteful to constitute a deal-killer?

For more on this, join NDN Fellows Michael Moynihan, Dan Carol, and Robert Shapiro on Tuesday for a discussion entitled Accelerating the Clean Energy Economy: Key Pathways, Policies, and Pitfalls. In the meantime, here's what we had to say:

This may be one of the few times in recent memory that a significant energy bill will pass Congress in an election year, but that doesn't mean that politics won't exact a price on the major outcomes voters say they want -- freedom from oil addiction, clean energy alternatives and measurable progress on climate that doesn't disadvantage the U.S. against key economic competitors. 

Any fee or tax on liquid fuels that the GOP attack machine can call a "gas tax" is dead unless the president chooses to stake his presidency on it. This seems unlikely, and a carbon tax or cap on fuels will be a far harder political sell than the president's courageous stance in 2008 against a federal gas tax holiday.

An oil price floor below the current trading price for oil could pass -- as it would not cost consumers a dime at the pump and it would serve as effective "national security insurance" against oil prices dropping in a double-dip recession and killing off alternative fuel markets as happened in the early 1980s. The last long-shot is a utility-only cap which might slip through because enough utilities like purple-state utilities like Duke Power and Energy are demanding a long-term set of rules. Doing so could start the ball rolling on pricing carbon. On that, the big question is whether the GOP wants to risk being seen as blocking progress on building petroleum-free, "Made in USA" electric vehicles which will be stalled without a utility cap. 

The political bottom line for this long-shot outcome: A utility cap is inside Beltway baseball and isn't scary to voters like a gas tax. People won't see increases in their electric bill for a utility-only cap by November anyway. "This seems like a battle line to which enough Democrats and Republicans might chose to retreat, rather than face the worse wrath of being "do nothing" energy incumbents at the polls this fall. 

Next week, a number of these ideas will be discussed here

Foreign Oil Company Dependency

It is ironic that the Obama Administration which came to Washington with perhaps the greatest dedication to environmental issues of any in modern history has had to deal with the worst oil spill in our history.  It is tragic that the Administation has yet to get its arms around the crisis.  If oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico through August when it is said that a second well can be drilled, then the spill will not only be an unprecedented health and environmental disaster but may also hobble the Obama presidency and undermine America's global reputation for years.

The spill obviously grows worse day by day.  But it also has the unfortunate quality--like the Iranian hostage crisis for President Carter or the Iraq war in President Bush's second term--that each day without improvement adds to the sense of frustration.  The ability to handle a crisis is a sine qua non  of Presidential leadership.  However, the problem is not just one for President Obama, Democratic prospects in the fall or, for that matter, the oil industry.  Rather it impacts the reputation of the United States as a country that is competent in the use of technology, master of its destiny and able to exercise world leadership.

While this disaster appears to have no easy answer--no disaster ever does--it is imperative that the Administration upgrade the level of its response.  At first, it may have made sense to try to charge BP with solving a problem it created.  But we have long sense reached the stage where the cause of the crisis is less important than its resolution. 

In this regard, several changes in approach suggest themselves.

First, while BP created the spill, it makes the President and the US look weak to depend on BP to resolve it.  Depending on a foreign company to solve a technological and environmental problem is what a developing country does because it lacks knowhow and resources of its own.  America, in contrast, has knowhow.  Accordingly, one has to ask, where are the US oil companies in the response so far?  Understandably they want to stay out of it.  However, BP is not the only company in the world that drills in deep water.  Exxon Mobil, to pick one example, drills all over the world and has expertise the White House ought to be tapping.  Halliburton was actually a contractor to BP in building the rig that exploded.  The Administration should conscript the entire US oil industry--and the global oil industry for that matter--to help cap the well.  The US is bigger than BP and we cannot and should not be or appear dependent on one company that may be headed to bankruptcy to solve a problem threatening the fishing and tourism industry in multiple states.

Second, the Administration needs to mount a more muscular clean up effort that has passed the level where BP can conceivably handle it.  Again requests that BP change its use of dispersants and so forth--trying to limit this to a BP problem--makes the Administration and America look weak.  The Adminisration needs to harness the talents and energy of the entire US oil industry, regional maritime industry and armed forces and beef up efforts to organize volunteers, deploy ships and otherwise take measures to contain damage.  This is an international issue as well since the oil may touch Gulf and Caribbean countires and, at the international level, only the US government can coordinate action.

One other thing to grap about this crisis is that it is not about large or small government.  It is about a core function of government, disaster response that involves coordinating public and private efforts.  Failure of the government to succeed in this core role can only undermine trust in government to undertake more complex challenges like managing health care or regulating carbon. 

At the end of the day, the United States, still the greatest economic and naval power on earth, has a great deal more resources than one foreign oil company, BP to fight this diaster.  It is time to bring those resources to bear.   

A Plan to Create Jobs and Address Climate Change

The long-awaited climate proposal from John Kerry and Joe Lieberman (minus Lindsay Graham) is now on the table; and it’s clear already that it has no better chance of being enacted than other failed proposals before it. One informal count this past week finds 26 Senators likely to vote yes and another 11 probable supporters – a total of 37, against nearly as many “no” votes and probably no’s (32) and nearly again as many fence-sitters (31). Despite the lessons of Katrina, the global importuning of Al Gore, and the President’s pledge to solve the problem, support for steps to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at safe levels hasn’t changed much in the last half-decade. The hard truth is, a serious climate program is unlikely to happen unless its advocates shift their legislative approach and retool their political strategy.  

You don’t have to be David Axelrod (or Karl Rove) to appreciate why. In a period of widespread economic anxiety and populist anger, congressional sponsors of climate legislation have persisted in pushing a big, new Washington fix that would raise most people’s energy costs in the near term, on the strength of promises by scientists that doing so will lessen the chances of dangerous climatic changes several decades from now – changes which scientists cannot yet specify in any detail. The cap-and-trade model long pushed by a handful of national environmental groups and adopted by Kerry-Lieberman and by Waxman-Markey in the House has other features bound to repel most Americans – especially the creation of a new, trillion-dollar financial market in federal permits to emit greenhouse gases, all to be managed and potentially manipulated by Wall Street. How many Senators are prepared to explain why the only climate plan they can come up with would raise everyone’s energy bills and yet enrich energy traders and executives at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase? 

The country and the planet need a different approach. The answer is to marry a plan to create jobs with a funding mechanism to reduce greenhouse emissions. Earlier this year, the CBO reported that the single, most powerful policy tool available to spur job creation is a sharp reduction in the employer’s side of the payroll tax, targeted to new hires who increase a firm’s entire workforce and total payroll. The catch is that since payroll tax revenues are dedicated to fund Social Security and Medicare, we have to replace the foregone revenues. We can finance this job-creating cut in payroll taxes by enacting a new, carbon-based fee which also would address climate change.   

To be sure, the new carbon fee – like cap-and-trade or, for that matter, EPA regulation – would drive up most people’s energy bills. But the cuts in the payroll tax would offset the higher energy costs from the fee, and the new jobs and higher wages spurred by the payroll tax cuts would leave most us better off, along with the planet. While the emphasis on jobs would be new, this general approach is not. Most economists and many environmentalists have long held that a fee on energy based on its carbon content is the most economically-efficient and environmentally-effective way to accelerate the development of new, climate-friendly fuels and technologies, and spur businesses and households to adopt them. Such a “tax shift” is also the long-time position not only of Al Gore, but also groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the U.S. Climate Task Force (which, in full disclosure, I chair with Harvard professor and former Gore aide Elaine Kamarck). 

It’s time for climate activists to respect the priorities of most Americans. Congress should enact broad reforms to create new jobs, boost incomes, and strengthen the economy – and pay for these reforms with a new, carbon-based energy fee that would steadily drive down our use of fossil fuels and their dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

Today @ 3:30 - Electricity 2.0: Envisioning the Future of Electricity w/ Chairman Ed Markey

Today, NDN will host an important and groundbreaking event focused on charting a course to the electricity future. Entitled Electricity 2.0: Envisioning the Future of Electricity, the event will feature remarks by:

  • Congressman Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment

and a panel discussion with:

  • Clem Palevich, former President and CEO of Constellation New Energy 
  • Nick Sinai, Director of Energy and Environment for the Federal Communications Commission 
  • Jigar Shah, founder of Sun Edison and now CEO of the Carbon War Room 
  • Michael Moynihan, author of the recent policy paper from NDN & the New Policy Institute, Electricity 2.0 

In addition to protecting our climate and enhancing energy security, clean electricity has the potential to power a new wave of prosperity. It can serve as a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to create new jobs and build new industries.  

In order to meet this challenge and achieve clean electricity's promise, the United States must update our antiquated grid and add dramatically more renewable resources. The US currently supplies 3.5% of power from renewables, compared with 28% in Denmark. 

Electricity 1.0 helped secure reliable, universal power. But with R&D in the electricity industry having dwindled to less than 1% of sales, utilities constrained from offering new products and services, renewable generators unable to get their product to market, and consumers unable to control their energy destinies, it is time for an upgrade to Electricity 2.0. With a new open architecture in place and the right incentives to restore innovation and revive investments, Electricity 2.0 promises to do for energy what the Internet did for communications.  

Electricity 2.0: Envisioning the Future of Electricity
Tuesday, May 11 @ 3:30 p.m.
U.S. Capitol - Room HC-6 (access through South Entrance)
A live webcast will begin at 3:45 p.m. ET
RSVP  :  Watch Webcast

We are on the cusp of a revolution in how the world creates, trades, and consumes energy. However, for that revolution to occur we need to create a new modern, open, and secure electricity architecture that allows innovation to flourish.

NDN in New York - Electricity 2.0: Unlocking the Power of the Open Energy Network.

Clean energy has captured the imagination of people from Silicon Valley, who invested $5.4 billion in the sector last year, to President Obama, who highlighted it in his State of the Union Address. However, it has yet to fulfill its economic promise and displace legacy fuels in America’s electricity sector, especially when compared with the significant progress made in other countries. Today, non-hydro renewables account for just 3.5% of electricity in the US.

On May 21st, NDN and New Policy Institute Green Project Director Michael Moynihan will host a presentation in New York, examining the electricity industry and why the uptake of renewables has been so slow. He argues that the answer lies in the outdated and complex structure of Electricity 1.0, a closed, highly regulated network created a century ago, fundamentally incompatible with clean technology and renewable power. Michael will argue that America must upgrade to Electricity 2.0, an open, distributed network capable of fostering innovation and a clean technology revolution.  

We hope that you will be able to join NDN in New York.  Please RSVP if you can attend. 

Electricity 2.0 paper available here.

Electricity 2.0: Unlocking the Power of the Open Energy Network

Friday, May 21st
8:30 AM, breakfast will be served

Michael Moynihan, Green Project Director and Electricity 2.0 author


The Harvard Club of New York
The Mahogany Room 35 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
United States
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