A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from February 2024

ISO/RTO Gaming: “Ketchup Caddy” Gets Caught

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 29, 2024

“[Philip] Mango told FERC staff he planned to ‘[d]o this for just a couple of years, make a bunch of money to put kids through school and do all those things, and no one’s hurt’ …. Ketchup Caddy [was] a corporate entity that Mango had created to sell an in-car ketchup holder he invented….” (Utility Drive, below)

Why do the worst often get on top where political entrepreneurship replaces market entrepreneurship? Why does regulation invite gaming where (at best) entrepreneurship is superfluous?

Consider the 1970s oil trading boom, where price-controlled oil was bid up to market levels without any value-added. Robert Sutton, a former trunk salesman, became a regulatory millionaire on that one.

Remember Enron’s gaming of the California hyper-regulated electricity market in 2000/2001? Three authors wrote in Business History Review:

Enron’s traders used their knowledge of the newly designed markets to artificially increase or decrease wholesale prices in their favor, which often involved submitting false supply-and-demand information, withholding available electricity, or scheduling energy they did not have.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles: UNSALABLE

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 28, 2024

“I’ve been around automotive for a long time, but I’ve NEVER seen incentives that represent 90% of new vehicle price. For a Toyota, 10% is the most I’ve seen. Yet, this is exactly what’s happening for the Toyota Mirai.” (James Carter, below)

EVs compete against hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles–at least in California where some one hundred hydrogen dispensing stations are. The range and fill-time of HFCVs is quite competitive with EVs. But it is downhill from there–and a major mess for sellers and buyers. The California Energy Commission (remember Methanol?) has failed again.

Consultant James Carter on LinkedIn summarized a recent article in Jalopnik, by Logan Carter, Toyota Offers $40,000 Discount On A Car Most People Can’t Fuel Up.” His autopsy (verbatim): 

  • Toyota’s innovative Mirai might just be the best deal on the car market right now, but access to hydrogen fuel is getting harder.

Electric Power vs. Green Goals

By Steve Goreham -- February 27, 2024

“The green movement calls for a shutdown of coal and gas power plants. At the same time, it demands a switch to electric vehicles, electric home appliances, and green hydrogen produced by power-intensive electrolyzers. This and the AI revolution portend a breakdown of the so-called energy transition.”

Twenty-three states have adopted goals to move to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. State governments propose to retire coal- and gas-fired power plants and adopt wind and solar systems. But these goals conflict with efforts to promote electric vehicles (EVs), electric appliances, and a new application (AI) that will increase the demand for electric power.

The green energy push seeks to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions to fight human-caused global warming. Leaders tell us that without a complete transformation of electric power, transportation, and home appliances to achieve Net Zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, we are doomed to suffer from increasingly severe climate change impacts.…

Just How Bad are EVs?

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#a_brooks">Allen Brooks</a> -- February 26, 2024

Tomlinson on the Texas Grid Three Years Ago (prediction fail!)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 23, 2024

Pokalsky, Borlick, Kiesling: Capacity Markets Now Essential in Texas (central planning rethink)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 22, 2024

Electricity Expert/Planner ‘Shaken’ (Texas debacle shocks worldview)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 21, 2024

The Great Texas Blackout of 2021: Triumph of the Unreliables

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 20, 2024

Energy & Environmental Review: February 19, 2024

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#john-droz">John Droz, Jr.</a> -- February 19, 2024

Wind power output in Texas is trending down even as wind generation capacity increases

By Ed Ireland -- February 16, 2024