The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

The Wall Street Journal recently opined against President Obama’s nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, Norman Bay, and in the process took a modest swipe at subsidies for wind energy. The context here is Bay’s action while leading FERC’s enforcement division, and in particular his prosecution of electric power market participants who manage to run afoul … More The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs

Michael Giberson Recently I went looking for a source for the idea that special interest lobbying succeeds due to the logic of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. Frequently in economics and especially among public choice analysts the concept is attributed to Mancur Olson and sometimes specifically to The Logic of Collective Action. For example, in … More Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs

POET, ethanol, independence and the flag

Michael Giberson Cellulosic ethanol is purportedly the future of biofuels, at least if you listen to ethanol’s supporters.  While the topic of cellulosic ethanol is a subject of some interesting research, digging around the internet for information mostly turns up flag-waving lobbyists seeking more help from the federal government. In a recent news release, ethanol … More POET, ethanol, independence and the flag

The wind industry loves to fret

Michael Giberson “Still, the wind-power industry loves to fret,” writes Keith Johnson at the WSJ‘s Environmental Capital blog, “Now, the worry is about a slowdown in manufacturing which could put thousands of ‘green jobs’ at risk—unless Congress offers even more support to the wind industry in the form of tougher renewable-energy standards.” Of course “fretting” … More The wind industry loves to fret

Auctions as tools to limit government discretion

Michael Giberson Auctions, especially auctions of government property, are not a tool of the rich…  As principles of market design become more thoroughly articulated and widely understood, the sphere of governmental discretion will shrink. More and more, politicians will be forced to play by the rules. That’s David Warsh writing on the relationship between the … More Auctions as tools to limit government discretion