Analysis of a randomised-controlled trial on a sample of almost 2500 Irish households revealed one surprising result: compared to the control group, households provided with a smart meter, detailed feedback on usage, and time-of-use pricing reduced investment in energy efficiency projects. While this unexpected development appears treated by the researchers as an embarrassment to be overcome, the result should … More Smart meters help consumers avoid wasting money on energy efficiency
Geologic weathering is an important, but slow, part of the carbon cycle in which rocks essentially absorb carbon dioxide. A research team in Iceland has invented a method of creating rocks using carbon dioxide, water, and basalt rock. A chemical reaction among them enables the basalt to absorb the carbon dioxide. A Washington Post article … More How cool is this? Accelerated geologic weathering by creating rocks from carbon dioxide
Severin Borenstein asks whether growth of distributed energy is mostly an uneconomic response to regulatory dysfunction, and raises the question of whether uneconomic responses might lead to regulatory improvements. He doesn’t quite frame the issues quite like that, his post is somewhat exploratory in form, but I think this is the question he is aiming at. … More Does bad regulatory policy sow the seeds of better regulatory policy?
I think we could use some good news this week. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the current blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay is one-third larger than it was at the same time in 2015: There are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of more … More Good environmental news from the Chesapeake
The EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation think trucking companies in the United States are not smart enough to understand that fuel expenses are worth managing carefully. Despite industry analysis identifying fuel costs ranging from 30 to 40 percent of variable costs per mile, so it is no secret in the trucking business, the federal … More The federal government wants to help trucking companies save money
Institutional persistence creates some of the thorniest problems in public policy, including electricity policy. Institutions change more slowly than technology and markets, because of both design and status quo bias, which means that dynamic processes of economic and technological change can make regulatory institutions outdated. This mismatch is showing up right now in the electricity … More My R Street policy study: Electricity market alternatives to regulatory net metering
A few years ago the state of Texas helped fight calls to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered by supporting an oil industry-backed foundation to oversee lizard habitat and promote habitat conservation efforts. Conservation groups were loudly skeptical of the Texas Habitat Conservation Foundation (THCF) due to its close ties to the oil industry. … More Texas terminates agreement with oil industry-backed lizard conservation group