Electric Experts Wed to Regulation (continuation of prior discussions)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 15, 2021 1 Comment

“By definition a free market means open access and competition. Your interpretation of Hayeck [sic] is flawed.” (Robert Borlick, below)

“Rob … I don’t think you have the foggiest idea of how the Austrian school of economics is relevant to electric power systems.” (Robert Borlick, below)

In the ‘never too late’ category, it’s time to introduce insights from the Austrian School of economics to electricity. Here is a running exchange with some power-market experts on my attempt to do just this.

I should emphasize that I am learning from them, as I hope they are learning from me. I have tested their patience with the notion that regulation/planning/renewables has hurt the Texas system–and hurt it enough to have caused the Great Blackout.

I am introducing new ideas to them, which really aren’t so new (see Raymond Niles in 2008 here).

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Raymond Niles on Liberating Electricity: 2008 Insights for Today

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 12, 2021 No Comments

“Although intended to counteract the problems caused by an earlier violation of property rights—the legalized monopoly status that utilities gained under ratebase regulation—the forced opening of the grid was itself a violation of property rights.”

“In the wake of a liberated electric grid based on property rights and private ownership of the rights-of-way, the imaginations, ingenuities, and profit motives of scientists, engineers, and financiers would produce all manner of possibilities.” (Raymond Niles, below)

Raymond C. Niles is one of those people who has “forgotten more than I know.” His insights from 13 years ago in electricity history and policy (one of his many interests in political economy) ring loud in the wake of the Great Texas Electricity Blackout of February 2021.

I recently came across Niles’s May 2008 essay, “Property Rights and the Crisis of the Electric Grid,” published in The Objective Standard.

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Electricity Markets: Contrived/Distorted vs. Real (debating the Texas Blackout)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 8, 2021 2 Comments

“‘Unintended consequences of government intervention?’ Are you f***in’ kidding me? What just happened is a direct consequence of insufficient government intervention!” (Robert Borlick, energy consultant)

“No, with due respect. When the system loaded up on renewables, who would have known that low-to-negative marginal-cost pricing would have ruined the economics of baseload generators and natural gas peakers, existing and prospective. I was an adamant critic of windpower in the old days (1997) and just did not foresee this.” (Bradley, retort)

Many planners and regulators involved involved in the Great Texas Electricity Blackout have resigned or been fired. But their brethren, the experts behind the fallen PUCT/ERCOT model, are emotionally defending central planning and renewable energies by blaming the natural gas industry. “The CEOs of those gas companies should be criminally charged,” exclaims Robert Borlick, below).

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“Protect Our Winters” (Snow a thing of the past?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 7, 2021 2 Comments

“Our winters are getting sick, and we know the reason why. It’s global warming, it’s rising temperatures, and that’s the only logical explanation for what’s happening.”

– Amato Evan (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) before the American Geophysical Union (Fall 2018), quoted here.

False science based on climate models is part of the complicated story behind the Great Texas Electricity Blackout of February 2021. As I posited in “U.S. Winter Outlook: Cooler North, Warmer South” (NOAA’s prediction bust):

Enter climate models, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and politics. And a very bad result for the South this winter. The lack of weatherization in Texas for traditional power plants, in particular, might well have been influenced by the climate narrative of warmer winters.

And with winter fading, and a snowy winter at that, it is worth revisiting the false alarm of snowless winters in the U.S.

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Texas Blackout: Costs, Blame Mount

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 5, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

Robert Michaels Interview: From Economics to Energy Economics

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 30, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

Electricity Planning: Physical vs. Economic (an exchange with Eric Schubert)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 25, 2021 1 Comment Continue Reading

Civil Society and Natural Gas during the Great Texas Blackout

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

ERCOT “worked as designed” (architect Hogan gives no quarter)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 23, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

ERCOT’s SNAFU: $16 Billion? $30 Billion? (perils of central planning)

By -- March 17, 2021 3 Comments Continue Reading