The beautiful transmission tower, the glamorous wind turbine

Michael Giberson We talk a bit about the economics of electric power transmission and wind power here, but there is more to understanding the world than economics. Previously we have noted Virginia Postrel writing on the techno-glamour of, among other things, wind turbines. Now we take note of the Pylon Design Competition and its recently … More The beautiful transmission tower, the glamorous wind turbine

Why did water utilities in the U.S. become mostly publicly owned?

Michael Giberson Among U.S. water utilities, some are publicly owned and some are privately owned. Same thing for gas utilities and electric utilities. But unlike in the gas and electric power industries, the water business has become predominantly organized by publicly-owned utilities. Scott Masten explores why it was that public utility ownership became dominant among … More Why did water utilities in the U.S. become mostly publicly owned?

The smart grid and the regulatory barriers thereto

Michael Giberson Bob Jenks of Oregon’s Citizens’ Utility Board, writing at EnergyPulse, explains “Why Smart Grid Advocates Should Learn About Utility Regulation.” Reading between the lines a bit, the reason smart grid advocates should learn about utility regulation seems to be so that they will understand that their talent, inventiveness, and desire to make the … More The smart grid and the regulatory barriers thereto

Nest’s elegant learning thermostat — but is it transactive?

Lynne Kiesling A team of highly skilled and design-savvy engineers have revealed Nest, an elegant, well-designed thermostat that can learn your preferred settings, analyze your data to spot energy-saving and money-saving opportunities, and look lovely on your wall. Earth2Tech has a review article on Nest, as does Greentech Enterprise. This summary description, from the Earth2Tech … More Nest’s elegant learning thermostat — but is it transactive?

Exelon’s John Rowe and Google’s Eric Schmidt: Truth to power?

Lynne Kiesling Here’s an interesting juxtaposition of two prominent executives performing sound public choice analyses, and I think they complement each other, at least in my work! This weekend’s Wall Street Journal featured an interview with Exelon’s John Rowe, A Life in Energy and (Therefore) Politics. Exelon is the third largest investor-owned utility/generation owner in … More Exelon’s John Rowe and Google’s Eric Schmidt: Truth to power?

What do the Occupy Wall Streeters care about? Haidt on the moral foundations of OWS

Michael Giberson At Reason.com, social psychologist Jonathon Haidt writes about the foundational moral concerns that animate the Zuccotti Park protestors.  Working from a Moral Foundations Theory* perspective, which Haidt and several others have developed, he said, “In my visit to Zuccotti Park, it was clear that the main moral foundation of OWS is fairness, followed … More What do the Occupy Wall Streeters care about? Haidt on the moral foundations of OWS

Praise for a New York Times article on natural gas fracking (Or, How property rights help mitigate potential environmental harms)

Michael Giberson I’m writing in praise of a New York Times article on natural gas fracking. Yes, really! Even more surprising, I’m writing in praise of a New York Times on fracking written by Ian Urbina. Yes, really! What is this marvel, you ask? I answer, “Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages.” What is so … More Praise for a New York Times article on natural gas fracking (Or, How property rights help mitigate potential environmental harms)