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Electrek morning green energy brief: The Sun Tax, Utility lobbying, Storage market bubbly coming to Massachusetts and more!


Sun Tax doubled on Spanish islands – If I build a thing to take advantage of the environment and I gain economic benefit from it, does the state deserve a piece? Yes – society has a hand in the creation of the stability that allows so much to exist in our civilized reality. The question is though – is it appropriate to tax this subset of the broader electric industry when we know clearly that the broader electric industry is not paying its fair share of externalities? What price ought it be? Coal/oil extraction leases are at amazingly low prices per kWh – article shows a tax of $0.04/kWh). Additionally, as we know, solar is a growing industry – states support growth industries.

California regulators halt utility lobbying plan – The electric utilities will very often fund political advertising against policies that would affect their revenue. See some ‘political jujitsu‘ to verify. California regulators have said unless San Diego Electric & Gas pays for the lobbying with shareholder money versus rate payer money, they are not allowed to lobby against a unique plan to purchase electricity generation resources. That’s a fair law I think – if share holder benefits are to be debated, let the shareholders pay – but do not limit the ability of the shareholders to be part of the discussion.

Massachusetts will be offering energy storage initiative soon while others fret of a bubble in the market – Interesting to read these two articles in quick succession while always having news of Tesla whizzing around. Lots of money being put into energy storage – and the manufacturing and deployment of it is just coming along. Tesla’s Gigafactory takes years to design, permit, build and scale. Storage and solar are globally in the less than 2% of electricity club – but you see headlines all the time. Hopefully initiatives like in Massachusetts will help pump installs to catch up with the investment.

Advanced silicon solar cells: Detecting defects that reduce efficiency – Researchers giving advice to manufacturers on how to make more consistent high efficiency solar cells. Lower the temperature and get rid of a couple of impurities. Cool.

A broader analysis of the economic contributions of US State level Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) – Renewable energy does a lot more than generate electricity. It offsets pumping of toxic to human chemicals into the air thus lowering hospitalzation rates, lowers water use, greenhouse gases, it lowers the global 6.5 million deaths per year due to air pollution, etc – but this study adds numbers to it instead of pretty word salad from your coffee shop blogger.

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