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?
Happy New Year! At Forbes Brian Potts asks a pithy question: will 2018 be the year of solar or coal? He starts with an observation familiar to most who have a passing familiarity with energy innovation in the past decade: the decline of coal as an electricity generation fuel source is a consequence of the … More Will 2018 Be the Year of Solar or Coal?
Last week the Environmental Defense Fund released a new report on grid modernization, Grid Modernization: The Foundation for Climate Change Progress (pdf). This short report provides a clear overview of how grid modernization enables a cleaner energy future, examining six areas where investment and regulatory policy should focus to make that happen. The focus of this … More Edf on Grid Modernization
The Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF) is a foundation that uses its grantmaking to “create a more energy-literate society that’s ready for the smart grid“. Working through local community organizations including educational and religious organizations, ISEIF provides grants to promote understanding of and use of markets and technology to promote behavior change in … More Energy Literacy, Innovation, and Economic History: a Recent Talk
Recently the Illinois Commerce Commission kicked off its “utility of the future” initiative, called NextGrid. This 18-month stakeholder study will gather ideas to map out a strategic direction for electricity in Illinois. I spoke on a panel at the kickoff event that focused on platforms and transactive energy; here’s a summary of the panel from … More Illinois Nextgrid, Platform Economics, and a New Working Paper
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
This article in the OECD Observer by Chris Pike provides a concise overview of some of the current issues and challenges that innovation is creating for existing business and regulatory models in electricity (and cites Kiesling & Munson 2016, thank you for that!). The main argument is that digital innovation is disrupting the traditional regulated retail … More Oecd on Competition and New Electricity Business Models
Many of the prospects for a cleaner and prosperous future — autonomous vehicles, economical renewable energy, more efficient electronics — are made more likely and/or more affordable with improvements in energy storage. Tesla’s advances in the technology, form factor, and scale of production of lithium ion batteries are well known (and in fact I think … More How Cool is This Liquid Battery?
At the fantastic economic history website EH.net, I recently reviewed John Neufeld’s new book, Selling Power: Economics, Policy, and Electric Utilities Before 1940. TL;DR: if you’re interested in the electricity industry you should read this book, even if you aren’t an academic. You’ll gain an important historical perspective on how we got to where we are, … More John Neufeld’s Selling Power: Economics, Policy, and Electric Utilities Before 1940
The electric power network is becoming increasingly digital. I started working on digital technology and smart grid topics in 2004, and served on the GridWise Architecture Council 2005-2009, focusing on enhancing understanding and use of interoperability principles in business and regulatory decisions. One of the important partners in expanding awareness of interoperability and its importance … More Nist Smart Grid Advisory Committee