Volume 6, Issue 7
November 18, 2018 – November 24, 2018
Anushka Dasgupta '19 | Neha Chauhan '21 | Joseph Kawalec '21 | Amy Amatya '21 | Melanie Porras ‘21 | Patrick Huang ‘21


  Tesla Slashes Prices on Home Solar Systems to Spur Sales   The New York Times | November 15, 2018 | Reuters  About two years ago, Tesla acquired SolarCity, one of the biggest residential solar energy companies in the U.S. Since then Tesla has majorly cut the price of their solar panels by not selling door to door or to big corporations such as Home Depot. While this has cut residential solar panel costs by as much as $5000 per project, Tesla has also seen a decrease in sales from 200 MW of solar a quarter in 2016 to less than 93 MW now. Tesla's executives believe that the price cuts will enable consumers to buy from their website directly and eventually make Tesla competitive in the solar market again, with the goal of ultimately being the lowest-cost solar provider in the U.S. -MP

Tesla Slashes Prices on Home Solar Systems to Spur Sales
The New York Times | November 15, 2018 | Reuters
About two years ago, Tesla acquired SolarCity, one of the biggest residential solar energy companies in the U.S. Since then Tesla has majorly cut the price of their solar panels by not selling door to door or to big corporations such as Home Depot. While this has cut residential solar panel costs by as much as $5000 per project, Tesla has also seen a decrease in sales from 200 MW of solar a quarter in 2016 to less than 93 MW now. Tesla's executives believe that the price cuts will enable consumers to buy from their website directly and eventually make Tesla competitive in the solar market again, with the goal of ultimately being the lowest-cost solar provider in the U.S. -MP


  Renewable Energy is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Stop Warming   Scientific American | November 14, 2018 | Benjamin Storrow   Wind and solar energy costs have been steeply declining for the past nine years, even overtaking natural gas and coal in some areas of the United States. However, a recent report by the International Energy Agency found that at the current rate of energy use, energy demand will rise 25 percent by 2040 - too high to be satisfied by renewables alone if we want to prevent the worst of climate change. The solution lies beyond economics: it will take a global re-evaluation of the energy system to combat emissions. While the US is making progress in retiring coal plants and incentivizing fossil fuels, real change can’t occur without cooperation from Asia, the continent with the  highest CO₂ emissions  where coal plants have decade-long lifespans and are continually being built. The executive director of the IEA said that suppressing irreversible global warming requires not cheaper renewables, but a “systematic preference for investment in sustainable energy technologies.” -AA

Renewable Energy is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Stop Warming
Scientific American | November 14, 2018 | Benjamin Storrow 
Wind and solar energy costs have been steeply declining for the past nine years, even overtaking natural gas and coal in some areas of the United States. However, a recent report by the International Energy Agency found that at the current rate of energy use, energy demand will rise 25 percent by 2040 - too high to be satisfied by renewables alone if we want to prevent the worst of climate change. The solution lies beyond economics: it will take a global re-evaluation of the energy system to combat emissions. While the US is making progress in retiring coal plants and incentivizing fossil fuels, real change can’t occur without cooperation from Asia, the continent with the highest CO₂ emissions where coal plants have decade-long lifespans and are continually being built. The executive director of the IEA said that suppressing irreversible global warming requires not cheaper renewables, but a “systematic preference for investment in sustainable energy technologies.” -AA


  California Utility Customers May Be on Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage   The New York Times | November 14, 2018 | Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis  With California battling another fierce wildfire season, residents may also have to deal with the possibility of higher utility costs. The utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has in recent years accumulated great financial liability. Poor maintenance and safety issues regarding PG&E electrical equipment have been deemed responsible for at least 17 of 21 major fires in Northern California last fall. The estimated billions of dollars that PG&E may owe due to past and present fires may ultimately cause utility rates to be increased, causing businesses and consumers to bear the costs. In recent weeks, the stock value of PG&E has fallen sharply as the wildfires paint a grim picture for both PG&E and California residents. -PH

California Utility Customers May Be on Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage
The New York Times | November 14, 2018 | Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis
With California battling another fierce wildfire season, residents may also have to deal with the possibility of higher utility costs. The utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)has in recent yearsaccumulated great financial liability. Poor maintenance and safety issues regarding PG&E electrical equipment have been deemed responsible for at least 17 of 21 major fires in Northern California last fall. The estimated billions of dollars that PG&E may owe due to past and present fires may ultimately cause utility rates to be increased, causing businesses and consumers to bear the costs. In recent weeks, the stock value of PG&E has fallen sharply as the wildfires paint a grim picture for both PG&E and California residents. -PH


  Despite Hurdles, Offshore Wind Energy Potential Is Generating Hype in the U.S.   Forbes | November 15, 2018 | Ken Silverstein   While the potential for offshore wind energy in the United States is quite large, the industry has faced mounting disappointments due to problems with cost and general logistics. The suspension of the Cape Wind project, along with the cancelling of offshore wind plans by groups such as NRG Energy and Siemens Gamesa, show how offshore wind farms have yet to prove themselves viable in the United States. Some of the obstacles that stand in the way of their implementation include the high cost of laying down underseas transmission cables and the cheaper price of building natural gas plants. However, Europe’s offshore wind deals account for 10% of its annual wind energy installations, which is evidence that offshore wind energy is possible elsewhere in the world. Since the coastline of New Jersey is looking like the ideal spot on the Atlantic coastline to construct offshore wind farms, offshore wind energy may be prevalent by as soon as 2020. -JK

Despite Hurdles, Offshore Wind Energy Potential Is Generating Hype in the U.S.
Forbes | November 15, 2018 | Ken Silverstein 
While the potential for offshore wind energy in the United States is quite large, the industry has faced mounting disappointments due to problems with cost and general logistics. The suspension of the Cape Wind project, along with the cancelling of offshore wind plans by groups such as NRG Energy and Siemens Gamesa, show how offshore wind farms have yet to prove themselves viable in the United States. Some of the obstacles that stand in the way of their implementation include the high cost of laying down underseas transmission cables and the cheaper price of building natural gas plants. However, Europe’s offshore wind deals account for 10% of its annual wind energy installations, which is evidence that offshore wind energy is possible elsewhere in the world. Since the coastline of New Jersey is looking like the ideal spot on the Atlantic coastline to construct offshore wind farms, offshore wind energy may be prevalent by as soon as 2020. -JK