Full video of presentation, “Innovating for the clean energy economy” @ MIT Energy Initiative

For the video of the talk: click here.

Talk deliv­ered Feb­ru­ary 19, 2018

Daniel Kam­men is a pro­fes­sor of energy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, with par­al­lel appoint­ments in the Energy and Resources Group (which he chairs), the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy, and the Depart­ment of Nuclear Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing. Recently, he gave a talk at MITEI exam­in­ing the cur­rent state of clean energy inno­va­tion and imple­men­ta­tion, both in the U.S. and inter­na­tion­ally. Using a com­bi­na­tion of ana­lyt­i­cal and empir­i­cal approaches, he dis­cussed the strengths and weak­nesses of clean energy efforts on the house­hold, city, and regional levels.

Q: Your team has built energy tran­si­tion mod­els for sev­eral coun­tries, includ­ing Chile, Nicaragua, China, and India. Can you describe how these mod­els work and how they can inform global cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions like the Paris Accords?

A: My lab­o­ra­tory has worked with three gov­ern­ments to build open-​​source mod­els of the cur­rent state of their energy sys­tems and pos­si­ble oppor­tu­ni­ties for improve­ment. This model, SWITCH, is an excep­tion­ally high-​​resolution plat­form for exam­in­ing the costs, reli­a­bil­ity, and car­bon emis­sions of energy sys­tems as small as Nicaragua’s and as large as China’s. The excit­ing recent devel­op­ments in the cost and per­for­mance improve­ments of solar, wind, energy stor­age, and elec­tric vehi­cles per­mit the plan­ning of dra­mat­i­cally decar­bonized sys­tems that have a wide range of ancil­lary ben­e­fits: increased reli­a­bil­ity, improved air qual­ity, and mon­e­tiz­ing energy effi­ciency, to name just a few. With the Paris Cli­mate Accords plac­ing 80% or greater decar­boniza­tion tar­gets on all nations’ agen­das (sadly, except for the U.S. fed­eral gov­ern­ment), the need for an ‘hon­est bro­ker’ for the costs and oper­a­tional issues around power sys­tems is key.

Q: At the end of your talk, you men­tioned a car­bon foot­print cal­cu­la­tor that you helped cre­ate. How much do indi­vid­ual behav­iors mat­ter in address­ing cli­mate change?

A: The car­bon foot­print, or Cool­Cli­mate project, is a visu­al­iza­tion and behav­ioral eco­nom­ics tool that can be used to high­light the impacts of indi­vid­ual deci­sions at the house­hold, school, and city level. We have used it to sup­port city-​​city com­pe­ti­tions for “California’s coolest city,” to explore the rel­a­tive impacts of life­time choices (buy­ing an elec­tric vehi­cle ver­sus or along with changes of diet), and more.

Q: You touched on the topic of the “high ambi­tion coali­tion,” a COP21 goal of keep­ing warm­ing under 1.5 degrees Cel­sius. Can you expand on this move­ment and the car­bon neg­a­tive strate­gies it would require?

A: As we look at paths to a sus­tain­able global energy sys­tem, efforts to limit warm­ing to 1.5 degrees Cel­sius will require not only zero­ing out indus­trial and agri­cul­tural emis­sions, but also remov­ing car­bon from the atmos­phere. This demands increas­ing nat­ural car­bon sinks by pre­serv­ing or expand­ing forests, sus­tain­ing ocean sys­tems, and mak­ing agri­cul­ture cli­mate– and water-​​smart. One path­way, bio­mass energy with car­bon cap­ture and seques­tra­tion, has both sup­port­ers and detrac­tors. It involves grow­ing bio­mass, using it for energy, and then seques­ter­ing the emissions.


9/​18/​2020: KQED Newsroom, “Climate change and the economic outlook”
Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 4.31.04 PM

To watch the inter­view and dis­cus­sion video, click here on the KQED web­site. Fight­ing Cli­mate Change Amid Wild­fires, Extreme Weather and Pres­i­den­tial Denial On Mon­day, dur­ing a trip to Cal­i­for­nia, Pres­i­dent Trump refused to acknowl­edge the role cli­mate change has played in gen­er­at­ing wild­fires that have burned more than 3 mil­lion acres and killed at least 26 […]

Screen Shot 2020-09-03 at 10.51.38 PM

New RAEL-​​​​WWF joint piece on clean energy for cul­tural and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion in the Mekong region. China Dia­log, Sep­tem­ber 2, 2020. For access, click here. And for the ver­sion on the RAEL pages, click here.  

New paper on household cooking and community engagement
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New paper by  Annelise Gill-​​​​Wiehl and Daniel Kam­men in The Beam: Avail­able on the RAEL pub­li­ca­tions web­site: https://​rael​.berke​ley​.edu/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​/​n​o​w​-​w​e​-​a​r​e​-​c​o​o​k​i​n​g​-​w​i​t​h​-​g​a​s​-​h​o​w​-​i​n​t​e​r​d​i​s​c​i​p​l​i​n​a​r​y​-​s​o​l​u​t​i​o​n​s​-​a​n​d​-​l​o​c​a​l​-​o​u​t​r​e​a​c​h​-​c​a​n​-​l​i​g​h​t​-​a​-​f​i​r​e​-​u​n​d​e​r​-​c​l​e​a​n​-​s​t​o​v​e​-​a​d​o​p​t​i​on/      

August 24, 2020, Energy Transition Dialog, ‘Two minute Warning’

Watch the con­ver­sa­tion: YouTube — https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​tch?v=79YwbcE1Zqk&

Lessons From 2009 for a Green Stimulus Today

Lessons From 2009 for a Green Stim­u­lus Today EMMA FOEHRINGER MERCHANT AUGUST 10, 2020 For the orig­i­nal: https://​www​.green​tech​me​dia​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​r​e​a​d​/​w​h​a​t​-​a​-​n​e​w​-​g​r​e​e​n​-​s​t​i​m​u​l​u​s​-​c​a​n​-​l​e​a​r​n​-​f​r​o​m​-​2​009   A clean-​​​​energy com­pany funded through a Depart­ment of Energy loan recently filed for bank­ruptcy. Tonopah Solar Energy, the builder of a 110-​​​​megawatt con­cen­trated solar power site, joined the ranks of bank­rupt Solyn­dra and Abound Solar. Those com­pa­nies all received money […]

Upcoming Events

RAEL Lunch (9/​30/​2020), Alan Lamont, “Innovations in energy storage for a carbon-​​neutral economy”
September 30 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
RAEL zoom (contact us to be added)

Topic: In look­ing ahead to entirely decar­boniz­ing the elec­tric gen­er­a­tion sys­tem, there is a debate about the use of nuclear gen­er­a­tion.  One school of thought argues that nuclear will be essen­tial to suc­cess­ful decar­boniza­tion, while the other feels that this can be done entirely using renew­able tech­nolo­gies, essen­tially wind and solar.  This research inves­ti­gates the […]

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