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On It's Time to Abandon the Delusion of a Carbon Tax

I am going to respectfully disagree.

1) Correcting a market distortion isn't the same as arbitrarily rising prices.

2) Price signals drive R&D, deployment and scale all of which drive technology costs down (not to say government funded R&D does not, but ignore the other ignores an important economic fact).

3) When did "the right thing seems too hard" become an acceptable policy position?

4) Big investment in alternative energy technologies will be embraced with bipartisan support just about as well as it was in 2011 as Solyndra's failure became a rallying cry for the tea party about misused government dollars.

 

 

 

September 30, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Looks like un-referenced assertions.  Provide clear and concise references and maybe you have a case (though not really, this is meant to be a professional forum and identifying yourself seems a base-line courtesy). 

June 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Lot of lost dollars by people who refused to believe change was possible (e.g., buggy makers, investors in rotary phones, typewriters, vcrs, etc).  

Also, technical innovation, moving beyond what was thought possible, and finding a better more effecient and democratic solution is what built America. 

June 19, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Lot of effort put into a comment to which you won't attach your own name/profile.  

June 19, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Impassioned debate is great – I know feelings run deep on this subject (I’ll be addressing this in a new piece shortly) and there are lots of us that have been in energy for a long time and feel extremely confident in the correctness of our convictions, but I also think it is important to keep a respectful tone and work to persuade, not bully. 

June 8, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Certainly aware of the frustration with the perceived lack of support for next gen nuclear technology.  That is a separate issue.  Whether we should be picking/supporting specific technologies based on relative merits of the potential is an important discussion, but secondary to the fundamental need to get the pricing transparency in place that will support innovation broadly.

There is a very curious dynamic in these responses where the pro-nuke crowd seems to be against clear market price signals from fossil based generation, which could be read as a fairly stark admission that even with a meaningful price on carbon the technology can’t compete?

June 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Completely understand your challenge, concerns, and frustration – and this hits at the core of what scares people about the energy transition we have started (which is happening irrespective of climate and carbon rules).  Cheap available energy has been a fundamental foundation for economic prosperity in industrialized society, maybe nowhere more than here in the U.S.

Unfortunately the transition away from our recent historic model of extract and burn is structurally certain.  The only question is the pace of the transition. I see this as a question of how to best manage the process – and that needs to balance adequate incentives to support more efficient use of the resources we have, incentives to support innovation (technology is the one real hope in all this), and protecting those that are unfairly more exposed to this change than others.

Obviously this has layers of politics to it, but transparency and understanding of the true costs are, to my view, a vital piece of getting this right.

June 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Translation: "my technological preference isn't ready to compete, so we shouldn't change the rules yet" 

June 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Texas is the American Leader in Energy, So How Can Its Electricity Markets be Such a Mess?

The National Geothermal Database just went live. Should make finding good geothermal resources (non-emitting baseload power) easier/cheaper.  

Now we're talking about 24/7 renewables.

 

May 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

This transition from burning fossil fuels to new technologies is, of course, complex on many levels.  However, the idea that we shouldn't pursue the right answer because this will be hard is quite simply - wrong (there is a pretty fulsome list of horrible historical examples of the status quo being maintained because change seemed too hard).  

The idea that we are not ready to understand the true cost of our energy choices (I just hit on climate disruption costs in this piece, but there is a pretty compelling argument about healthcare costs as well) simply because the coming transition looks challenging would be a really sad outcome indeed. 

We’re paying the external costs for emissions, it’s simply a question of whether that’s in conjunction with consumption as a tax on consumption or through taxes and losses as a result of the consequence of the emissions.  On a macro level this is a zero sum equation. Do we need to find ways to protect certain classes from bearing an unfair portion of the costs of this transition, of course, but just because that will be hard isn’t an excuse to continue to embrace a system that is wrong. 

May 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Texas is the American Leader in Energy, So How Can Its Electricity Markets be Such a Mess?

Agree with your first point.  Not convinced on second (and am not alone in that), especially once the retirements start to hit, but I may be wrong. As to your third, it's actually very difficult to get any utiltiy scale generation financed in Texas right now.  Long term agremeents can't be had at prices that work, and there are still some serious limits on what you can do with hedges.  Result is a market that everyone knows needs capacity as we look out a few years, but investors and lenders are not putting money to work in all but a very select set of projects.  Seeing some uptick in interest around distributed sources filling in some gaps (retail offtake with long term contracts and decent pricing is easier to get).  

Some more cogent thoughts on this can be found in this Q&A I did with SNL (not the funny one).

May 29, 2014    View Comment    

On An Expensive Subsidy, Twisting in the Wind

A little hyperbole there, but the underlying point is real – the ongoing subsidy that is free emissions is simply never addressed when we get all worked up over energy subsidies (renewable or otherwise). Which is of course all wrong.

May 21, 2014    View Comment