For well over a decade, researchers have been modeling the cost of state renewable energy mandates.

The results break down in predictable ways: Conservative and progressive groups often come to very different conclusions about costs and benefits.

An authoritative 2015 report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that compliance costs for state renewables targets only make up 2 percent of retail rates in most U.S. states.

After a lull, the debate over the cost of renewable energy targets is reemerging. A new working paper from economists at the University of Chicago concludes that mandates are the most expensive way to reduce carbon pollution — and that they are much bigger drivers of rate increases than previously thought.

Many researchers are pushing back on the economists’ modeling of electricity rates. But it’s worth revisiting this debate, since renewables and carbon-free energy targets are used as placeholders for more ambitious climate policy.

In this week’s podcast, we’re discussing the findings of this study, the criticism, and how it fits into current trends U.S. in energy policy.

In the second half of the show, we'll talk about electric-truck maker Rivian. What do Amazon and Ford see in the company? Are trucks the next big target for electrification?

Finally, a brief look at 5G networks. They could revolutionize energy services, but they’re also fraught with geopolitical and cybersecurity risks. Will the benefits outweigh these risks?

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Support for this podcast comes from PG&E. Did you know that 20 percent of EV drivers in the U.S. are in PG&E’s service area in Northern California? PG&E is helping to electrify corporate fleet vehicles. Get in touch with PG&E’s EV specialists to find out how you can take your transportation fleet electric.

We're also sponsored by Wunder Capital. Wunder Capital is the leading commercial solar financing company in the United States. Click here to find out how Wunder Capital can help you finance your next commercial solar project.

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