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⚡"20 Years of Solar Advocacy"

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Photo by Danist Soh / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: David Roberts
Guest: Adam Browning | Executive Director | Vote Solar
Category: ⚡Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[34:55] “I think there are really three main things [for solar advocacy] […]. One is the original premise behind my motivation or my thinking around Vote Solar [which] is once you made it cheap, it would just continue to under the gravitational pull of economics. Solar PPAs […] are like two cents per kilowatt hour […]. It's awesome. And you still see places, where they are trying to build ginormous, new fossil fuel [plants]. […] And it is still necessary for advocacy to have a seat at the table and drive deployments.”

[37:29] “In much of this country we have vertically integrated utilities. That is to say that you have a monopoly. They own the wires, and they own the generation and they in essence get paid based upon how much capital they deploy. […] There is a real capital bias towards getting a return on equity for how much money they actually spend. […] The other part of it really also leans into ease, laziness.”

[39:03] “We can run a system nationally with majority renewables in terms of a variable generation. We need to make some changes to make that actually work. And we need to introduce a lot more flexibility into the system. And so partly, that's batteries, partly that is a real focus on demand flexibility, help essentially paying people to change when they charge or give them incentives to be good grid citizens. […] And it is also some degree, some transmission that helps expand balancing areas interconnects the load centers with the best generating profile. So the reasons why we don't actually just see this happen just because it's cheaper and cleaner and better for everybody have really to do with, mostly with economics, in terms of perverse incentives inside of utilities, and it is a lot easier to have a gas plant, you just flip a switch on rather than transforming the system to be more flexible and resilient.”

[40:28] “As we make this transition from fossils to renewables, we […] absolutely have to make sure that it benefits and includes everybody. And we cannot continue to replicate some of the inequities of our fossil fuel system. And so just to say, over the past five plus years at Vote Solar, we've completely changed how we go about planning our campaigns, how we go about the policies that we work on, and it has really benefited everybody by making this transformation. And so when we look at some of these largest, most comprehensive climate bills, none of these would have happened, if it weren't for the leadership of the environmental justice community.”

[43:36] “One of the things that's been awesome about solar is just these monumental cost declines from something that was 10x more expensive and alternative to something that is quite a bit cheaper than the fossil alternative. And so can you see similar cost declines in other climate necessary technologies? I would argue absolutely. […] Having this cheap, renewable energy is the sort of a foundation for our hopes and other sectors as well. But if you're looking at say, mobility batteries have come down 87% in the last decade. And they are far from done yet, both with the battery technologies that are currently extant, and the new ones that are all being worked upon. I think you could make a similar argument for the electrification of buildings for heat pumps.”

Rating: ⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 1 hr 2 min | 🗓️ 09/17/2021
✅ Time saved: 1 hr

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