Energy literacy, innovation, and economic history: a recent talk

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

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

Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

  Apple’s controversial decision to remove the universal 3.5mm audio jack from its just-released iPhone 7 has several economic dimensions. All of them are a consequence of Apple’s proprietary architecture (colloquially known as “Steve’s walled garden”) and the extent to which Apple is trying to/able to exercise incumbent vertical market power. How much market power … More Apple’s jack and incumbent vertical market power

Moody’s concludes: mass grid defection not yet on the horizon

Yes, solar power systems are getting cheaper and battery storage is improving. The combination has many folks worried (or elated) about the future prospects of grid-based electric utilities when consumers can get the power they want at home. (See Lynne’s post from last summer for background.) An analysis by Moody’s concludes that battery storage remains an … More Moody’s concludes: mass grid defection not yet on the horizon

Technology market experimentation in regulated industries: Are administrative pilot projects bad for retail markets?

Since 2008, multiple smart grid pilot projects have been occurring in the US, funded jointly through regulated utility investments and taxpayer-funded Department of Energy cost sharing. In this bureaucratic market environment, market experimentation takes the form of the large-scale, multi-year pilot project. The regulated utility (after approval from the state public utility commission) publishes a … More Technology market experimentation in regulated industries: Are administrative pilot projects bad for retail markets?

The sharing economy and the electricity industry

In a recent essay, the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Matthew Crosby asks “will there ever be an AirBnB or Uber for the electricity grid?” It’s a good question, a complicated question, and one that I have pondered myself a few times. He correctly identifies the characteristics of such platforms that have made them attractive and successful, … More The sharing economy and the electricity industry