Boston U. ‘Sustainability’ Professor on COVID-19 shutdown: ‘This crisis provides a very green opportunity. We can accelerate climate progress as we rebuild society and the economy’


By: - Climate DepotApril 19, 2020 6:35 PM with 0 comments

Via Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/19/opinion/this-crisis-provides-very-green-opportunity/?event=event25

Peter Fox-Penner is a professor in Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and director of BU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy. He is also chief strategy officer at Energy Impact Partners, an investment firm. His new book “Power After Carbon: Building a Clean, Resilient Grid,” will be published in May.

Excerpt: Fox-Penner: “This crisis provides a very green opportunity. We can accelerate climate progress as we rebuild society and the economy.” – “The sudden drop in carbon emissions in countries that shut down this spring initially seemed like a slight silver lining on an otherwise pitch-black cloud. On reflection, it instead reminds us just how far we have to go.”

Calls for the economy to be masterminded from above: “Transitioning this complex mosaic to carbon-free production…it’s a real-life Rubik’s Cube in which customer demands must be balanced instantaneously with supply.”

Professor seeks a frightening future where academics and activists remake economy: “The entire enterprise must be planned, simulated, financed, and built years into the future.”

“Transitioning this complex mosaic to carbon-free production requires change well beyond simply building more wind and solar plants — though this is clearly one pillar of the solution. It’s a real-life Rubik’s Cube in which customer demands must be balanced instantaneously with supply. Nothing in the electric grid operates on its own; it influences, and is influenced by, everything else on the system. And then, even as it operates continuously in real time, the entire enterprise must be planned, simulated, financed, and built years into the future. Overhauling this system rapidly, reliably, and affordably will require a number of important changes. A strong and stable national climate policy, ideally with a price on carbon, would help enormously. Increasing efficiency is the most cost-effective method of cleaning up our energy system, and a new generation of tech-enabled products like smart thermostats offer even larger gains.”