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Frank Wolak
solar station

Wolak: Solving California’s Power Crisis

News / September 18, 2020

PESD runs workshop for Brazil's electricity regulator

News / January 29, 2019

Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Director Frank Wolak and Associate Director Mark Thurber conducted a workshop on December 3-4 in 

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Wolak recommends "cost based" market for Hawaiian Electric Company

News / November 14, 2018

On November 2 at the University of Hawaii, PESD Director Frank Wolak gave a special seminar "How Should the Public Utilities Commission Regulate Hawaiian Electric Company for Better Integration of Renewable Energy?" in which he recommended a "cost based" market for Hawaiian Electric Company.

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PESD workshop tackles electricity market challenges in a highly-renewables world

News / October 17, 2018

Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) Director Frank Wolak, Associate DIrector Mark Thurber, and doctoral candidate Trevor Davis led an Electricity Market Simulation Workshop as part of the 2018 Western Electricity Market Forum September 20-21 in Boise, Idaho.  The audience was comprised of regulators and regulatory staff as well as policy makers representing states from across the western U.S.

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Stanford course provides opportunity for students to see textbook methods in action

Q&As / October 28, 2015

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and Office of International Affairs (OIA) launched a pilot collaboration last year to provide a rigorous, immersive teaching and training program for students interested in international fieldwork.  The result was a program that included a quarter-long course in the spring of 2015 followed by three weeks in Mexico during the summer to design and conduct a field research study.

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Wolak Participates in Radio Segment on Community Control Aggregation in California

News / August 13, 2015

On August 13th, 2015, Professor Wolak was interviewed along with Monica Padilla and Ted Ko by KALW, a public radio station in San Francisco. The particular topic of interest for the hour-long segment was CCAs (Community Choice Aggregation), which provide an alternative way for communities to receive electricity other than the commonplace utilities. Although the CCA bill came out in 2002, there are only three remaining CCAs today. 

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Wolak: In Short Term, Lower Water Levels At Hoover Dam Will Not Impact Electricity Bills

News / July 28, 2015

In a recent article by Sarah Tory, Professor Frank Wolak states that in the near term consumers should not expect a rise in electricity bills. This fear of soaring electricity costs comes from the decreased generation of Hoover Dam due to the low water levels of Lake Mead. However, Professor Wolak says that utilities frequently buy "future" contracts, which limits their ability to raise prices. Professor Wolak also states that, because of the mix of renewable resources in the West, other energy sources may help to alleviate the strain on the system from the loss of hydropower.

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Nuclear Energy Can Play A Role In Zero-Carbon Grid

News / July 28, 2015

Professor Frank Wolak was recently interviewed by Julian Spector of CityLab regarding the use of nuclear energy in a zero-carbon grid. According to Professor Wolak, "It makes very little economic sense to phase [nuclear energy] out, particularly given how successful the U.S. nuclear industry has been over the past 30 years". Professor Wolak also points out that American nuclear generators are safer than ever while still boasting an impressive capacity factor.

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In Puebla, PESD Researchers Team Up With Stanford Students To Conduct Energy Use Survey

News / July 7, 2015

Stanford students, under the guidance of the Stanford Program on Energy and Sustainable Development and in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), are currently administering surveys throughout Puebla, Mexico. The surveys primarily consist of three stages: determining a household's energy consumption, educating the household on how their electricity bill is calculated, and suggesting at least one cost-saving strategy the household could adopt.

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How to Keep Green Policies from Crashing the Electricity Grid

News / May 22, 2015

Many Californians still remember the electricity crisis in 2000 and 2001, when a combination of tangled state and federal regulations and opportunistic behavior by market participants led to soaring wholesale prices and rolling blackouts.

Could something similar happen today, but this time as a result of trading tied to policies for reducing carbon emissions and mandating a higher share of electricity produced from renewable energy?

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Stanford professor developing water usage model that could help California meet conservation goals

News / May 22, 2015

As California heads into a fourth year of drought, water agencies are scrambling for new ways to conserve.

Gov. Jerry Brown has mandated 25 percent water reductions and has called on resource managers to create new incentives for conservation. Tiered pricing – charging more per gallon to customers who use more – could be an effective mechanism. In fact, many water utilities in California and elsewhere already use tiered pricing structures. However, a recent court decision in a case brought by ratepayers in San Juan Capistrano may stymie such efforts.

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The End of Expensive Oil?

Commentary / April 8, 2015

The shale oil and gas revolution in the United States (U.S.) has led to a more than 4 million barrels per day increase in domestic oil production since 2008. Combined with an almost 1 million barrel per day increase from the Alberta tar sands, the surge in North American oil production has significantly reduced the region’s demand for imported oil. Increased production of shale gas in North America and the significantly lower dollar per million British thermal unit (BTU) price of natural gas versus oil have caused a number of sectors of the U.S.

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The global oil price drop may last for the next couple decades, Stanford economist says

Commentary / March 30, 2015

Global oil prices may stay low for the next 10 or 20 years, according to Stanford economist Frank Wolak.

The most likely medium-term outcome is $50 to $70 per barrel, according to Wolak. He is the Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in the Department of Economics at Stanford University.

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Thurber and Wolak simulate carbon cap and trade in Stanford GSB course

News / September 30, 2013
PESD associate director Mark Thurber and director Frank Wolak taught a course on "Energy Markets and Policy" at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in which student teams played the role of California power companies bidding generation into wholesale electricity markets and trading carbon allowances to cover their emissions. The surprising results of this cap and trade simulation are published in the Aug/Sep 2013 issue of The Electricity Journal.
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Market Monitoring in the US Energy Market by Frank Wolak /FSR Monthly Interview

Q&As / April 16, 2013
During a visit to Toulouse, France to present at “The Economics of Energy Markets” conference at the Toulouse School of Economics, PESD Director Frank Wolak was interviewed by Professor Jean-Michel Glachant of the Florence School Regulation about his work monitoring wholesale electricity markets.
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Export American natural gas? Not so fast, says Stanford economist

News / December 18, 2012
FSI's Frank Wolak warns of betting against the international spread of shale gas technologies by attempting to export domestic natural gas.
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Wolak presents at Energy Risk USA Conference

News / May 15, 2012
PESD director Frank Wolak spoke on role of congestion revenue rights (CRRs) and financial transmission rights (FTRs) in improving energy market efficiency at the Energy Risk magazine’s 16th annual 2-day conference.
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