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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.

 

RAEL PhD student Samira Siddique part of new Working Group on the Rohingya Crisis

Since August 2017, Burmese secu­rity forces have been car­ry­ing out a cam­paign of eth­nic cleans­ing against Rohingya Mus­lims in Rakhine State forc­ing over half a mil­lion of them to flee to neigh­bor­ing Bangladesh to escape killings, arson, and other atroc­i­ties. This mass migra­tion has resulted in one of the worst human­i­tar­ian crises of our time.  The Chowdhury […]

Dam projects steal from Malaysians, says former US science envoy Daniel Kammen

HYDROELECTRIC dams are not the answer to sus­tained power gen­er­a­tion, said a for­mer US State Depart­ment sci­ence envoy, call­ing them an attempt to “steal” from Malaysians. Daniel Kam­men, in an op-​​​​ed pre­view­ing the top­ics to be dis­cussed at the Clean Energy Col­lab­o­ra­tion con­fer­ence in Kuch­ing next week, said future energy require­ments for Malaysia, and Sarawak […]

Congratulations to Serena Patel for her work on community energy in Kenya — winner of the BERC People’s Choice Award

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Ser­ena Patel, Energy Engi­neer­ing and RAEL stu­dent, for her work on com­mu­nity energy in Kenya — win­ner of the People’s Choice Award at the recent Berke­ley Energy Resources Col­lab­o­ra­tive 2019 Sum­mit! Back to Africa next sum­mer for more research, too! and for an up-​​​​close view of her work on clean energy and mini-​​​​grid development, […]

The color of energy: The Green New Deal Must Benefit Black And Hispanic Americans

James Ellsmor, Author Arti­cle appeared in Forbes, Jan­u­ary 28, 2019 Solar power is a quickly grow­ing energy source in the United States, offer­ing impor­tant finan­cial ben­e­fits to house­holds. How­ever, a new study shows that many Amer­i­cans lack access to solar power. The report pub­lished in Nature Sus­tain­abil­ity by researchers from Tufts Uni­ver­sity and the Uni­ver­sity of California […]

New article on the racial disparities in installed rooftop solar in the US .

Not every­one is ben­e­fit­ing equally from the avail­abil­ity of new solar energy tech­nolo­gies, a new study by researchers at UC Berke­ley and Tufts Uni­ver­sity shows. To access and down­load the paper, click here. By com­bin­ing remote sens­ing data from Google’s Project Sun­roof with cen­sus tract infor­ma­tion, the researchers dis­cov­ered sig­nif­i­cant racial dis­par­i­ties in the adop­tion of rooftop solar photovoltaics. […]

Upcoming Events

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3-​​20-​​2018: RAEL lunch talk, John McQueeney, “ERG to Cannabis”
March 20 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
310 Barrows Hall

John McQueeney was a UC Berkekey under­grad­u­ate and sus­tain­able energy researcher. He has worked in solar PV devel­op­ment, energy effi­ciency, and on car­bon and energy plan­ning and research in Asia.  John now works in med­ical mar­i­juana.  He will describe how his ERG-​​​​based skills have served him in this new and rapidly chang­ing field.

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April 17: RAEL Lunch, Emma Tome “Energy and environmental justice”
April 17 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
310 Barrows Hall

Emma’s inter­ests are at the inter­sec­tion of cli­mate change adap­ta­tion, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy stud­ies, with a focus on renew­able energy tech­nol­ogy adop­tion in under-​​​​resourced com­mu­ni­ties. She received her B.A. in Geog­ra­phy and B.S. in Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences at UC Berke­ley in 2011, and her under­grad­u­ate research focused on crit­i­cal approaches to GIS technology […]

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