Discussion - Distributed Energy

Discussion: How Do We Measure “Enough?”

Renewables prices have been falling precipitously over the past five years as government research and incentives have encouraged and excited deployment. There has been exponential growth, firstly with wind and now solar, throughout the world with China and the United States currently leading global solar growth.

Clean energy advocates and reporting entities such as Ceres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance claim that the world needs $500 billion to $1 trillion dollars invested annually if we wish to stave off the harshest consequences of climate change and keep global average temperature increases below 2 degrees centigrade.

Source: Bloomberg

Source: Clean Tecnica


But, given that deployment is up and investment is down for the second year in a row, should we be using investment dollars as the proper metric when determining what is “enough?” Or, should advocates, governments, and businesses be using another metric, such as megawatts deployed, or tons of CO2 avoided by renewables generation?

DISCUSSION: What metric should be used to measure clean technology deployment: investment dollars? Megawatts installed? Or tons of CO2 avoided?

Authors: Brandon Tarbert, Eric Shrago

1 reply »

  1. How about forecasting (and regularly updating) CO2 emissions until 2100 and necessary tons of CO2 avoided in order to reach the 2 degrees centigrade goal, and then creating a percentage out of actual tons of CO2 avoided and necessary tons of CO2 avoided? (Same could be done with energy efficiency measures etc.) This calculation, for example on a quarterly base, should count in the moment of interconnection the total CO2 avoided over the new system’s life-time.

    Although this is not a precisely simple way of measurement and exact forecasting is difficult, I like that politicians are given specific target values. These are much easier to understand and act upon because they are already put in relation with a target, unlike $ and MW numbers.

    What do you think?

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