Union of Concerned Scientists: West Coast States Could Cut Petroleum Consumption in Half by 2030, New Study Shows

California, Oregon and Washington could cut their petroleum use by half in the next 15 years through policies that encourage greater transportation options and the more robust use of existing and emerging low-carbon technologies, according to a report prepared by ICF International and released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report finds that the three West Coast states are already on track to reduce petroleum consumption and outlines strategies for further cutting oil use from car and freight transportation that is fouling air quality and contributing to climate change.

Photon: Study Shows Costs of PV Decreased 10 percent per Year Since 1980

We put ourselves in the past, pretended we didn't know the future, and used a simple method to forecast the costs of the technologies.

These were the methodological premises of a study conducted by a research team from the University of Oxford, which has also analyzed the development of the PV technology over the past and future decades. The paper (titled "How predictable is technological progress?") found that the costs of a PV module decreased at an average rate of 10% per year since 1980. It provides a quantitative answer to a fundamental question: How do we know that the historical trend will continue? Isn’t it possible that things will reverse, and over the next 20 years coal will drop in price dramatically and solar will go back up?

Bloomberg Businessweek: Who Owns the Sun?

Warren Buffett controls Nevada’s legacy utility. Elon Musk is behind the solar company that’s upending the market. Let the fun begin.

SolarCity’s success is partly because the government provides subsidies and enables an arrangement called net metering, which allows homeowners with panels to sell back to the grid any solar energy they don’t use. This helps offset their cost of power when the sun’s not shining. Like more than 40 other U.S. states, Nevada forces utilities to buy the excess energy at rates set by regulators -- usually the same rate utilities charge (hence, the "net" in net metering). In Nevada, it’s worked well. So well, in fact, that NV Energy, the state’s largest utility, is fighting it with everything it’s got.

Photo Illustration by Justin Metz from Photograph by David Brandon Geeting for Bloomberg Businessweek. Buffett: Lacy O’Toole/Getty Images; Musk: Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Kleiner Perkins partner Randy Komisar discusses the roadmap for pitching a venture capital firm in the firm's podcast, Ventured.           

The Present is a thesis short from the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany.