PESD - News Page
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.