Economic Evaluation of Projects in the Electricity Supply Industry

April 11, 2014 by Hisham Khatib

Electricity Supply Industry


Electricity is versatile, clean to use, easy to distribute and supreme to control. Just as important, it is now established that electricity has better productivity in many applications than other energy forms. This led to the wider utilisation of electricity and its replacement with other forms of energy.[read more]

Is an Economist Allowed to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline?

September 18, 2013 by James Bushnell

The Keystone pipeline debate encapsulates the appeal and the distastefulness of tackling emissions limiting the supply of fossil fuels. What matters is whether reducing this supply leads to more output from some other source of supply, or if other sources would be used regardless.[read more]

Learning and Forgetting the Wisdom of Coase

September 10, 2013 by Severin Borenstein

Ronald Coase

I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1985 when our downsizing department library put a stack of old journals in the hallway for disposal. Walking by the pile, I spotted the 1960 Journal of Law and Economics in which Ronald Coase had the lead article.[read more]


Allowing Complexity: A Market Response to Climate Change

August 22, 2013 by Cal Abel

Markets and Climate Change

Our energy policy is perhaps best described as going nowhere fast. Many, myself included, see climate change and it's resulting problems as one of the most pressing issues we face. We need to take action. But what action do we take?[read more]

The Cleantech Market and Predictable Irrationality

August 15, 2013 by Rob Day

One of the more important shifts in recent investment in cleantech, I believe, is the abandonment of the rather quaint idea that buyers of clean technology are inherently rational decisionmakers. I mean "rational" in the economics sense, of course.[read more]

Wait, Are You Paying for My Solar Panels?

February 14, 2012 by Stefano Ratti

A question people ask me often is whether solar energy “makes economic sense”.  The answer, as usual, is not a simple yes/no. I will start from a very tangible example, relevant for residential rooftops: my own system, which I am installing on my Maryland house: 4.32 kW of capacity, generates 5,585 kWh per year (if I cut a few...[read more]

Economics of the Environment

January 11, 2012 by Robert Stavins

The Sixth Edition of Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings has just been published by W. W. Norton & Company of New York and London.  Through five previous editions, Economics of the Environment has served as a valuable supplement to environmental economics texts and as a stand-alone book of original readings in the...[read more]

Cold, Hard Climate Economics

November 10, 2011 by Gernot Wagner

Global warming is happening faster and with more intensity than anyone expected, yet the fossil-fueled right has succeeded in removing the issue almost entirely from the agenda through a false pretense of defending "free markets." In response, environmentalists have tended to retreat further into their own organically padded corners,...[read more]

No Free Lunch on Climate

September 6, 2011 by Gernot Wagner

Plenty of studies show how we can save the planet and save money all at once. Many of them happen to be produced by McKinsey. Economists tend to deride them. If you could really save money by being green, why wouldn’t everyone be green all the time?[read more]

UNESCO, Rolling Stones and the Art of the Trade-Off

August 21, 2011 by Gernot Wagner

Economists have some hard and fast rules that—to put it mildly—don’t necessarily endear them to everyone around. For one, there’s the idea of trade-offs. It makes so much sense it’s sometime easy to forget how difficult an idea it really is. You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes we so wished it wasn’t true. If only you try...[read more]

Carbon Output "Socialism On A Planetary Scale"

July 7, 2011 by Gernot Wagner

One of the more powerful quotes about the importance of taking nature seriously goes back to Oystein Dahle: “Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth.” It’s made all the more powerful as Mr. Dahle is...[read more]

Comparing Apples Now To Apples Later

April 11, 2011 by Lou Grinzo

Allow me to be perhaps the millionth person this year to observe that one of the critical problems we face regarding our looming energy and climates challenges is the sorry state of critical thinking skills. You can provide your own list of ways this situation is a very bad thing, although I would be deeply disappointed if at least one...[read more]

Barriers to High Speed Rail in the US

March 15, 2011 by Hugh Bartling

The New York Times had an interesting article over the weekend on the state of Florida’s recent rejection of federal money to build a high speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa. This comes on the heels of gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin and Ohio where anti-rail governors who were elected last year similarly rejected federal...[read more]

The Mirage of Fail Safe Engineering

March 14, 2011 by Robert Rapier
Harsh Reality: Smoke billows into the sky moments after an explosion occurred at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.

As I have said many times, all of our energy options require trade-offs. I can’t think of any that don’t have some negative consequences and risks associated with their production and/or use. One job of the engineer is to minimize those risks down to an acceptable level. Often times, public expectation mistakenly believes that “...[read more]

Arguing With the Numbers

March 8, 2011 by Geoffrey Styles

Over the weekend I read a remark in one of the Wall St. Journal's political columns that resonated with an implicit theme of this blog since its inception in early 2004. In her discussion of the budget crises facing various states and the debates concerning how to resolve them, Peggy Noonan highlighted the benefits of focusing on the...[read more]