Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”

Richard Rhodes has written an amazing book. He aspired to tell the tales of energy transitions over the past 400 years. His Energy: A Human History accomplishes that task. The book is daunting in size for non-required reading. It is filled with brief stories of this or that device or discovery or development, and almost overwhelming … More Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”

The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

The UK government started an energy digital smart meter rollout in 2008, an “… £11bn scheme to put 53m devices in 30m homes and small businesses by 2020” to yield an estimated gross benefit of £16.7bn. Calling the rollout a disaster would be generous — it’s behind schedule, about £1bn over budget, and full of technical … More The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?

Maximilian Auffhammer explored the question, “How Local Should Your Energy Retailer Be?” at the Energy Institute at Haas blog. He said the issue had come up over lunch in the office. The distribution utility of the future is going to buy electrons in this reordered market (mostly renewables and some fossils) and sell them to its … More Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?

The politicized world of public lands as revealed in hearings of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources

The Natural Resources committee of the U.S. House of Representatives recently held three hearings addressing oil and gas resources on federal lands and waters. On June 6 the committee considered several proposed drafts revising various aspects of the onshore oil and gas leasing and permitting processes. The second hearing, on June 14, concerned the proposed … More The politicized world of public lands as revealed in hearings of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources

Barry Smitherman: How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution

Barry Smitherman has an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution.” Smitherman is former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and before that of the Texas Public Utilities Commission. He highlights price reductions available to consumers as compared to prices immediately before the retail … More Barry Smitherman: How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution

Integrating reliability-must-run practices into wholesale electricity markets

One of the challenges of electric power market design comes in the need to consider the consequences of design choices for both market outcomes and grid reliability. Strictly speaking, the two kinds of consequences are not neatly separable, as market choices affect system reliability and system reliability affects market outcomes. The interaction between the two … More Integrating reliability-must-run practices into wholesale electricity markets

The Need for Electricity Retail Market Reforms

Lynne Kiesling and I have an article in the Fall 2017 Regulation magazine asserting “the need for electricity retail market reforms” (PDF). Our general theme is, as the subtitle puts it, “An innovative 21st century retail electric power market is within reach, but won’t emerge until we ditch 20th century regulations.” We begin: School budgets always seem tight, so … More The Need for Electricity Retail Market Reforms