Lab members Arjun Sawhney and Isac Lee, and non-presenting author Jeffrey Feng presented their research at the USAEE/IAEE North American Conference 2021 and the Energy Policy Conference 2021 this fall.

Isac Lee presented work on Financial Benefits and Inequities of Household Solar PV Support Programs at the Energy Policy Conference to a group of judges, where they critiqued the submitted poster. These findings consisted of analyzing the differences in financial benefits across income levels for solar PV support programs, and diving into differences in capacity across these income regions as well. Current results indicate that low-income zip codes possess a higher average capacity factor. However, low-income households are being the least incentivized when comparing with their income-level counterparts.

Arjun Sawhney and non-presenting co-author Jeffrey Feng presented their work on Planning for a Just Renewable Energy Transition in India. Emerging research shows that the falling cost and widespread availability of renewable energy have great promise in economically reducing CO2 emissions. Lu et al (2020) describes how wind and solar in India could meet 80% of anticipated 2040 power demand and lead to a reduction of 85% in CO2 emissions, dramatically reducing the country’s reliance on coal. However, planning for high-penetration futures of renewable energy sources in India must also consider the unique regional political constraints, socio-economic conditions, and availability of labor that might impact the future of India’s clean energy transformation. Our aim is to answer pertinent questions regarding the extent to which prioritizing political suitability influences renewable energy potential in India. For instance, locations close in proximity to high-voltage transmission lines provide economic benefits to distribution companies associated with a lower cost of providing transmission access and a grid connection. We examine wind and solar capacity factors, energy potentials, and the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) with existing transmission infrastructure of Indian states under different assumptions of politically-suitable siting decisions: constrained to districts with high, medium, and low “coal incumbency.” Determined by coal job share and other socio-economic factors, this coal incumbency score allows us to compare three scenarios of renewable energy deployment and determine one which most reduces dislocation associated with retiring fossil fuel infrastructure and coal job lay-offs. As a robustness measure, we compare our findings against siting locations constrained to be nearby existing energy facilities, such as coal plants and mines.

Great work, everyone!

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