Fortnightly Magazine - May 2016

Tale of Two Grids

What a review of PUC cases tells us about the future of consumer technology and grid modernization.

There may be a more fundamental schism that raises fundamental questions about the role of the distribution utility and footprint of the natural monopoly.

Is Cleantech Coming of Age?

Analysis of investment data from the Cleantech Group i3 platform.

Private investment flows into cleantech reveal consistent signs of maturation. Cleantech is becoming more mature, diverse, and in some sectors – perhaps such as utilities – increasingly “conventional.”

The Powerwall Follies

A year later, reality is kicking in.

One year after Elon Musk rolled out the Powerwall: The real price is 60 to 80 percent more than Musk claimed. A handful (yes, I mean about five) have actually been installed in Germany and Australia. None in the U.S. so far.

Writing 'The Power Brokers'

Jeremiah D. Lambert, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., has served PJM and other clients in the electric utility industry and has written extensively on energy-related topics.

In “The Power Brokers: The Struggle to Shape and Control the Electric Power Industry,” I sought to craft a narrative, telling the story of an essential bedrock business through the players who influenced its course.

Nikola's Memorable May, and The Donald

May Birthdays

On May 1, 1888, Nikola Tesla was issued seven patents that literally made our world. Together with an eighth patent issued two weeks later, Tesla laid the foundation for an alternating current-based electric grid.

How Many Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

Organized markets will ensure the optimal number of bulbs are screwed in, at the marginal cost of bulb screwing.

How many utility commissioners does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Five. A problem for three-person commissions. Three commissioners to hear testimony on whether changing the bulb is in the public interest. One more commissioner to direct staff to write the decision and order, to screw it in. And a fifth commissioner to hear appeals, as to whether screwing it in is actually least cost.

How many utility rate managers does it take to screw in a light bulb?