Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Including All the Benefits in Cost-Benefit Analyses of Solar Energy

On the issue of evaluating energy alternatives, biomass boiler policymakers makes a room to commonly conduct cost-benefit anlayses. Which appears almost run-of-the-mill, correct? The difficulty, however, arises when we have to choose the parameters. What costs should we input? Short-term or long-term costs? Should we include externalities? If a particular system has by-products that pollute and endanger life on earth as it is, how greatly should it affect our decisions? These are the vital questions that we need to consider.

So it goes for the benefit side. Do we give weight to the resource as a short-term or long-term energy provider? Do we consider the time of generation, knowing that electric power costs are higher when there is a great demand for it? Do we input other benefits from the grid, for instance, the opportunity to do away with other capital investments in tranmission and distribution systems?

And there are those benefits existing outside of the grid. Should we input into the analyses the value of having cleaner air and reduced morbidity for society at large? What about the impacts of climate change? Economic and employment impacts? And impacts of the use of water?

We believe we should.

For this purpose, we have joined a coalition of similarly-oriented companies (American Lung Association in California, California Center for Sustainable Energy, Asia Pacific Environmental Network, Brightline Defense Project, California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Solar Energy Industries Association, Distributed Energy Consumer Advocates, Environment California Research & Policy Center, Coalition for Clean Air, Environmental Defense Fund, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc., Local Energy Aggreagation Network, Dr. Luis Pacheco,, Sierra Club, Solar Energy Industries Association) in order to petition the California Energy Commission to carry out a study of the societal costs and benefits of the State’s net-energy metering program.

Vote Solar is a non-profit organization striving against the ill-effects of climate change and fostering economic development by introducing solar energy as a primary power source in society.

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