Notes and Case Comments

Harnessing the Power of the Ground Beneath Our Feet: Encouraging Greater Installation of Geothermal Heat Pumps in the Northeast United States

Although ground-source heat pumps are an appealing source of renewable energy, they have yet to truly catch on in the United States—especially in the Northeast.  The Introduction of this Note will introduce readers to the different types of geothermal heat pumps and their mechanics.  Part I will explain how high initial costs, information deficits, and governmental failures to make available equal financial incentives for geothermal heat pumps in the Northeast have inhibited the growth of their usage in the region.  Part II will analyze the financial incentives and regulations that impact the use of geothermal heat pumps.  Part III will discuss the barriers to widespread geothermal heat pump adoption and why current laws and regulations are inadequate to address these barriers.  Part IV will propose several ways state governments can encourage greater installation of geothermal heat pumps.  Specifically, I will argue that a loan program modeled after New York’s On-Bill […]

Stifling the Wind: California Environmental Quality Act and Local Permitting

At the turn of the millennium, California led the nation in installed wind energy capacity.  California had over 1600 megawatts (“MW”) of capacity, representing a majority of the nation’s 2472 MW.  The second most developed state had only had seventeen percent of California’s capacity.  However, since 2000, wind capacity in the United States has increased twentyfold to almost 50,000 MW, while capacity in California has less than tripled. Although many factors contribute to differing rates wind energy development across the United States, California’s decentralized siting and arduous environmental evaluation requirements should bare blame.  Though California still maintains the third most installed wind energy capacity, despite ranking nineteenth in terms of total wind generating potential, it still has 34,000 MW of uptapped on-shore economic wind potential.  In-state wind resources have the potential to meet 39.4% of the State’s current energy needs but currently only provide 3.3%.  Focusing on California’s relative wind […]