A bungled transition from coal to clean energy has left resource-rich Australia with an unwanted crown: the highest power prices in the world.
New Yorkers pay half as much as Sydneysiders to keep the lights on, despite Australia boasting among the world’s largest coal and natural gas reserves, as well as ideal conditions for clean power generation. A decade of political dithering and climate policy missteps have set its patchwork power system adrift, ratcheting up manufacturing costs and hurting consumers with a doubling in electricity prices since last year and rising risks of blackouts.
A study released Tuesday by economists at UC Davis shows that families who own fuel-efficient cars tend to buy big, powerful gas guzzlers as their second vehicle, largely defeating the purpose of the little petrol sippers in their garages.
The researchers, who studied California Department of Motor Vehicle trends for two-car households over several years, likened the phenomena to the “diet soda effect,” in which people who buy diet drinks reward themselves by wolfing down greasy french fries.
. . . Not only that, Rapson said, but because of the fuel-cost savings, the owners of the fuel-efficient cars tend to drive them more, which ultimately leads to more gasoline being burned, thereby counteracting the decision not to drive the hulking sport utility vehicle.
These tendencies reduce by up to 60 percent the expected future gas savings from increased fuel economy in two-car households, said the study, which was funded by the California Air Resources Board. That’s the equivalent of saving 68 gallons a year compared with between 24 and 27 gallons, according to the study co-authored by James Archsmith of UC Davis, Kenneth Gillingham of Yale and Christopher Knittel of MIT.
Germany will miss a European Union renewable energy target by a wider margin than previously predicted, a study showed on Wednesday.
The BEE renewable energy association’s analysis found that energy from green sources would account for 16 percent of German power consumption by 2020, short of an EU target of 18 percent for Germany.
Caldeira says studies show reaching 80 percent renewable energy is well within reach. Even hitting 100 percent is technically possible. “We could do it,” he says. “It would just be very expensive.”
Expenditures for delivered energy in the United States in 2015 totaled $1.127 trillion, a 20% decrease in real terms from 2014, according to recently released data from EIA’s State Energy Data System. Adjusted for inflation, total energy expenditures in 2015 were the lowest since 2004. Total energy expenditures, expressed as a percent of the United States gross domestic product, were 6.2% in 2015, the lowest since 2002.