My Comments before Georgia’s Public Service Commission 5 Nov 2013

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the Commission today.

I spent the last five years studying energy policy, leading to two career changes, and my pursuit of a PhD at Tech in Nuclear Engineering. What I thought was a challenging set of circumstances is much more complex–with significant consequences. Energy is a cornerstone of our economy. It’s use represents 80% of our GDP. If we are to grow our economy, increasing our access to energy carries the utmost importance. It should be our goal to reduce energy’s cost. While we do not have control over fuel costs, we do control how we use them and our policies to regulate their use. Continue reading

Liberty as a Consequence of Human Action

I came to being a libertarian because of the math. I started with the idea that if we start with microeconomics, game theory, and then formally aggregate a group of individuals we can come to macro economics. I did this by mirroring Gibbs approach to deriving statistical mechanics. Translated into econo-jargon, a society is just a bunch of people added together. Thus statistical economics was born. When I explored the consequences of this framework in environmental ethics, I saw I had no choice other than to accept libertarian principles. There is more that needs to be done, and so here we go. Continue reading

Russell Brand and a Call for Revolution

Russell Brand made an audacious call for revolution in his New Statesman editorial. I share many of his concerns for the current state of affairs and see that if unchecked we will unfortunately have a revolution. However, I do not see his proposed solution as an effective one. It will lead to a greater tragedy within any society that adopts his well intentioned action. His interview with Jeremy Paxman is informative and entertaining to watch.

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Toward an Anti-fragile Electric Grid: Reassessing Environmental Policy

I had a revelation last night about the electrical grid. I was responding to an old friend’s comment where he stated that we needed distributed generation. I could have used the example of Mao’s Great Leap Forward with the blast furnaces in everyone’s yard, but I wanted to maintain our friendship, and stuck to Riccardo’s comparative advantage argument instead.

Then it hit me. Prior to 1970, electric generators were located very close to the point of consumption (I am talking US here). This minimized the line losses. Interconnects were put in to allow for some power sharing especially in the event of a forced outage. In general, the system was stable and one outage in one location would not necessarily affect another.  It was also characterized by a larger number of smaller generators, this applied to every thermal generator. Continue reading

Regulatory Applications for Bitcoin: Environmental and Spectrum Allocation

I recently wrote a post about using property rights to avoid the tragedy of the commons.  Jesse Jenkins, of The Energy Collective, responded to my draft post that he thought my idea of allocating property rights based off of land use was too complex. I assured him that it was not and gave a logical and concise rebuttal. However, his challenge to me left me thinking about how to simplify the regulatory approach. This post is my effort to sketch out such a simplified approach. Continue reading

Allowing Complexity: A Liberal Response to Climate Change

In the essay below, I explore the consequences of current energy and environmental policy and suggest an alternative set of solutions based on private property rights to resolve cost externalities and foster innovation.  The essay is a little longer than I hoped.  It is in two parts, the first identifies the failures in current policy, and the second part identifies how we can implement a more enlightened environmental policy.

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Defining Scieince

I often wondered about what is the nature and purpose of science. While researching what was to become the foundations of statistical economics, I stumbled across an author that I hadn’t heard of before, Edwin Jaynes.  His work has become a profound influence on my research and thinking.  In one of his works, he asks, “How shall we best think about Nature and most efficiently predict her behavior, given only our incomplete knowledge?” Continue reading