Laura Mørch Andersen, Lars Gårn Hansen, Carsten Lynge Jensen, Frank Wolak, 26 April 2019

Increased reliance on solar and wind power has changed the approach to managing peak demand. The column details the results of a Danish experiment designed to flatten demand in which customers were randomly assigned to receive rebates based on how much consumption they could shift between periods of the day. Asking customers to shift consumption to periods of low net demand would create daily cost savings of €100,000 for the utility in question. Paradoxically, demand-shifting reduces the need for installed generation capacity, but increases overall demand.

Meredith A. Crowley, Huasheng Song, 22 October 2015

Europe has a trade policy for solar panels that is designed to level the playing field between Europe and countries like China. This column assesses the EU’s stance. Antidumping policy is supposed to promote a fair competitive environment between domestic import-competing and foreign exporting firms. However, evidence suggests that publicly listed Chinese private sector firms experienced large losses under Europe's import restrictions, while state-owned enterprises experienced little or no adverse impact. Rather than fostering fair competition in green energy products, Europeans have unintentionally tilted the playing field against the Chinese private sector in favour of the state.

Emanuele Massetti, Elena Ricci, 23 July 2014

Concentrated solar power generation in Northern African and Middle Eastern deserts could potentially supply up to 20% of European power demand. This column evaluates the technological, economic, and political feasibility of this idea. Although concentrated solar power is a proven technology that can work at scale, it is currently four or five times more expensive than fossil fuels. Concentrated solar power could play an important role in Europe’s energy mix after 2050, but only if geo-political challenges can be overcome.

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