5.2 Distributed Renewable Energy (Ch. 19)

For individuals, the heating and cooling of buildings is the second largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions after transportation. The chapter suggests pathways to help deploy the two most promising categories of U.S. distributed renewable energy resources to reduce these emissions—photovoltaic solar matched with storage and thermal sources for hot water and for heating and cooling buildings. DG is probably the energy source most impacted by different levels of government and nongovernmental actors. However, DG is also most immediate to consumers, especially with new technologies or rate structures that give them feedback about their own individual generation and consumption patterns. This, along with exciting new leaps in DG technologies, suggests there are opportunities for DG to play an increasing role in significantly decarbonizing U.S. energy.