California’s Climate Credit is Worth Watching

Patricia Levi, April 17, 2014

 

This month, many Californians will see something new on their electricity bills: The first bi-annual Climate Credit, a payout to customers of investor-owned utilities like PG&E and SCE through California’s Cap and Trade program. The Climate Credit is worth around $30-$40 and will recur every April and October for most customers. However, for customers of some small utilities it will reach nearly $200, while certain small businesses, schools, and hospitals will receive their credit every month.

National and international climate communities are already keeping a close eye on California’s AB32 Global Warming Solutions Act, which includes the Cap and Trade Program as part of a package of policies aimed at cost-effectively reducing California’s emissions. The impact of the Climate Credit — the first of its kind — is worth watching to determine if similar mechanisms could be used successfully elsewhere. In particular, the Credit’s impact on both energy efficiency and public support for the Cap and Trade program will be especially interesting to follow.

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Looking behind IPCC’s WG3 climate finance figures

Morgan Hervé-Mignucci, April 15, 2014

 

Last Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final version of the Summary for Policymakers for its working group dedicated to the assessment of the options for mitigating climate change. This is the first time an IPCC assessment report features a chapter dedicated to investment and finance. We are thrilled to see that the results draw heavily on CPI Climate Finance pioneering work in the field.

To demystify the term ‘climate finance’ and better understand the magnitude and type of climate financing available, CPI has provided an overview of the climate finance landscape for the past three years. Three particular objectives have guided our work:

(1)  identifying the main dimensions of climate finance,
(2)  highlighting issues and gaps in the tracking of flows, and
(3)  pointing to remedies when needed.

The third edition of this study, the Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013 is the most comprehensive look at climate investment to-date.

$356-363 bn. went to climate finance projects in 2012…

The Summary for Policymakers indicates that “published assessments of all current annual financial flows whose expected effect is to reduce net GHG emissions and/or to enhance resilience to climate change and climate variability show USD 343 to 385 billion per year globally.” These numbers are taken from the 2012 edition of the Global Landscape of Climate Finance and are relative to the year 2011. We updated these numbers in the 2013 edition and found that climate investment plateaued at an average $359 billion in 2012, far short of even the most conservative estimates of the investment need.

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New Climate Economy and CPI launch a call for evidence

Dan Storey, March 28, 2014

 

Together with CPI, the New Climate Economy has issued a call for evidence on the role finance plays in a transition to a new climate economy. Full details of this call including further background and key questions to respond to can be downloaded here.

Please circulate the download or the link to this page to other interested parties.

We encourage submissions as soon as possible in advance of a 30 April 2014 deadline. Please limit your submission to 10 A4 pages (minimum font size 10). Please reference relevant additional supporting evidence where appropriate. Submissions or questions about submissions should be emailed to finance@newclimateeconomy.net.

Thoughts to share? Join the conversation about this blog on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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The promise and pitfalls of shareholder incentives: Lessons from California’s high-stakes test

Julia Zuckerman, February 19, 2014

 

This post originally appeared on Intelligent Utility.

How many millions of dollars does it take to change a state’s light bulbs?

This sounds like the start of a joke, but for the last seven years, it’s been anything but to California utilities and regulators. The crux of the dispute, which has had stakes in the hundreds of millions of dollars, has been an ambitious—but controversial—shareholder incentive designed to motivate California utilities toward greater energy efficiency.

The policy, called the Risk/Reward Incentive Mechanism, or RRIM, targeted California utilities. However, the concept of a shareholder incentive is one that 20 other states have adopted in recent years. It’s also under discussion at the federal level as part of President Obama’s proposed Race to the Top Energy Efficiency Initiative.

So what can utilities in other states learn from California’s experience? Climate Policy Initiative’s recent analysis, “Raising the Stakes for Energy Efficiency: California’s Risk/Reward Incentive Mechanism,” draws a few lessons that stand out.

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Climate policy in 2014

Thomas C. Heller, February 14, 2014

 

Around the world, nations are striving to use increasingly scarce resources more productively, meet energy security goals, and reach economic growth targets, all while reducing climate risk. These are complex and urgent challenges, and policy plays a critical role in addressing them.

Since our inception in late 2009, Climate Policy Initiative has been working hard to answer pressing questions posed by decision makers through in-depth, objective analysis on some of the most significant energy and land use policies around the world, with a particular focus on finance.

As we continue to tackle these important and complex issues, your feedback on how we’re doing is extremely important. We hope you’ll help us reflect on the past, as we ring in a new year, by participating in a five-minute survey about our work.

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Is concentrated solar power getting any cheaper? And what role can policy play in bringing costs down?

Martin Stadelmann, January 22, 2014

 

In the past, renewable energy technologies have been much more expensive than their fossil fuel competitors but costs of wind and solar have come down after public support has deployed them at scale. In fact, costs of solar photovoltaic power plants have decreased roughly 20% and wind power plants 15% every time installed capacity has doubled.

For concentrated solar power (CSP), experts have projected a cost reduction of 10-15% for every doubling of capacity. However, new CPI analysis shows that CSP has not demonstrated cost reductions at the global level with increased deployment over the last five years, but it has done so in some regions for some CSP technologies.

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Why risk coverage matters and what can be done to scale up green investment

Gianleo Frisari, December 6, 2013

 

Risk, whether real or perceived, matters. It is the biggest barrier preventing private capital from flowing into investments and, given the enhanced risk profile of low-carbon technologies, it is even more crucial for climate finance investments. Higher risks demand higher returns and higher financing costs, making low-carbon technologies even less competitive.

While not all risks need to be reallocated, whenever risk falls onto a party not suited or not willing to bear it, risk coverage instruments (such as guarantees) can be key to unlocking private resources without depleting public budgets.

CPI has observed this phenomenon time and time again in our case studies.

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COP19: A video primer on global climate finance with Barbara Buchner

CPI Staff, November 21, 2013

 

The report says $359 billion has already been spent this year, but it is less than last year.

The bulk of the money (62%) comes from the private sector, enabled by public activities and most of the money has gone towards renewable energy. $22 billion has been spent of adaptation and $32 billion on energy efficiency.

This video interview was recorded, produced, and originally published by Responding to Climate Change.

Read “The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013.”

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Will California’s AB327 help or hinder renewable energy? The devil is in the details

Patricia Levi, November 18, 2013

 

California Assembly Bill 327 (AB327), signed into law October 7th, 2013, drew fire from solar and energy efficiency proponents, The Sierra Club, and other environmental groups over the rate-setting powers it would give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). These opponents worry that the bill allows changes in rate and regulatory structure that could discourage renewable energy investment in California. However, local governments, industry groups, utilities and some consumer groups argue these same powers could, used wisely, make electricity rates more equitable, protect consumers and help utilities adapt to an increasingly renewable and distributed grid. Climate Policy Initiative’s analysis suggests they could also create a very fertile and cost-effective environment for renewable energy for years to come.

AB327 allows the extension of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and requires the extension of the Net Energy Metering program, both of which Climate Policy Initiative analysis has shown to be significant drivers of renewable energy growth in California. Many of the details of their implementation are left to the CPUC, though, and these details will decide the ultimate impact of AB327 on renewable energy in California.

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How to spread new technology in agriculture: the importance of geographic conditions and learning-from-peers

Pedro Hemsley, November 7, 2013

 

In business, it is unusual to find a technology that proves to be better and costs less than the one in use. In theory, that technology should spread like wildfire and quickly replace current production methods. If it doesn’t, there is usually a barrier that prevents its spread.

In a new CPI study, we examine a farming technology called the Direct Planting System (DPS) which has proven to be one of the most important developments in agriculture in the past decades – however, after nearly forty years of its introduction in Southern Brazil, only 10% of Brazilian farmers reported using it in the 2006 Agricultural Census. The questions we address in this study are: What is keeping this technology from spreading and how do we overcome this barrier?

Our analysis reveals that soil composition is an important factor affecting the spread of the DPS. When soils are similar in a given municipality, it is easier for farmers to learn from the experience of peers who have already successfully adopted the system. Likewise, differences in the soil can act as a barrier to the expansion of DPS, since the system would have to be adapted to different soils. 

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