Professor Borenstein's May 4, 2015 blog, Is the Future of Electricity Really Distributed?, needs to be carefully considered by Hawaii's policymakers as we move forward. What he describes is very much the rhetoric being advocated in Hawaii by rooftop solar advocates:
. . . Instead of seeking the most affordable way to scale up renewables, the loudest voices (though possibly not most of the voices) in the renewables movement are talking about “personal power”, “home energy independence”, “empowering the consumer”, and rejecting “government-created monopolies”. . .
. . . That’s not to say that distributed generation couldn’t be the best way for some people at some locations to adopt renewables, but simply that DG should not be the goal in itself. We desperately need to reduce greenhouse gases from the electricity sector, not just in the U.S., but around the world, including some very poor countries where affordability is a real barrier and electricity access is life-changing. If DG is the least costly way to get that done, I’m in, but the choice should be driven by real cost-benefit analysis, not slogans about energy freedom.
I'll touch more about the economics of rooftop solar and its impact on the general fund and ratepayers tomorrow.
Here's a clever European wind commercial that I saw on FaceBook recently. Capacity factor is another issue that needs to be carefully considered as we move forward but I'll leave that discussion for another day.