Do we have names for marketlike structures that are not sufficiently market-like to be markets?
ERCOT, for instance—
- producers and retailers exchanging a good (a real market!)
- prices are set by an… algorithmic demand curve (kind of chemically similar to a market)
- but most consumers are insulated from volatility (hmm)
- some facilities have first rights to the good
Like I want to know what the right name for “???” is. (It seems like “organization” is one term for it.)
I’m not asking only about the power sector, to be clear—lots of industries seem to function in this way (including, as many ppl have noted, healthcare).
Lots of good answers! I think “construct” or “mechanism” (via @AriPeskoe’s description of ERCOT, below) is my favorite. It also implies a gradient:

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More from @yayitsrob

5 Jan
great story about how market turmoil and the energy transition is cutting off what used to be a reliable path for college grads to enter the upper middle class. (it’s about a lot of other stuff, too.)…
- also about how geothermal/carbon-capture companies have a large and willing talent pool to draw from
- how, to a degree that’s easy to underestimate On Here, the two tracks for geology majors remain (1) oil geologist and (2) tenure-track climate scientist
- and about how what are basically pre-oil undergrad programs—especially in Texas!—are not preparing students for the actual job market. (which matches my experience on the ground there.) the expectations-vs-reality clash reminds me of what jschool grads experienced in 2007
Read 7 tweets
25 Nov 20
1/ I’m flummoxed by this @tylercowen column about how an Operation Warp Speed for clean energy won’t work.

Cowen argues that a procurement pledge won’t help advance energy innovation, which might be true. But his evidence doesn’t really make sense.…
2/ He contrasts the cost of Operation Warp Speed ($18B) to total US energy expenditures ($1.2T).

But… why? OWS didn’t comprise all US healthcare spending in 2020, and an OWS for clean energy wouldn’t comprise all US energy spending then, either.
3/ The comparison doesn’t hold up once you fix it. The right analogue to the $1.2T figure isn’t a federal program; it’s total US healthcare expenditures. And in fact, Americans spend 3x more on healthcare ($3.6 trillion, according to NHEA) than we do on energy ($1.2 trillion).
Read 7 tweets
17 Nov 20
NEW: There’s a new industrial alliance in Washington.

Tesla, Rivian, and Uber are joining forces with lithium companies, charging companies, and some of the country’s biggest utilities to form @zeta_2030.

Its goal: Make 100% of new vehicles EVs by 2030.…
Some context: For decades, oil companies and automakers have worked together in DC, pursuing the same deregulatory goals.

For much of that time, oil companies have waged a long, hard, and losing war on electric cars.
For utilities, electric vehicles represent a huge growth opportunity. So climate advocates have hoped that utilities would fight back against oil firms’ war on them.

But utilities also work with (and buy natural gas from) those same oil companies, so they’ve often stayed silent.
Read 6 tweets
9 Nov 20
I guess it’s nice that Phizer didn’t take federal R&D investment, but its private investment in a Covid-19 vaccine is inseparable from the broader investment environment that Operation Warp Speed made possible.
I salute Phizer CEO Albert Bourla for demonstrating that when the government invests in solving a major technical problem, and when the economy isn’t running at anything close to full capacity, private companies respond by crowding *in* investment to solve that same problem.
Given that the US pre-purchased doses from Phizer, thus ensuring a market would exist for their product, it’s pretty rich that Bourla is bragging that Phizer declined federal R&D investment. We, the American public, gave them guaranteed upside!
Read 5 tweets
28 Oct 20
In other words: The drug that probably saved the president’s life isn’t available to more Americans because of his failure to govern.
I’ve seen a number of commentators (among them @DouthatNYT) argue that wartime-production analogies are facile, because America hasn’t pulled off an Apollo-like miracle in decades. But the Trump admin has, without controversy, activated excess production for Operation Warp Speed.
Perhaps in six months, we’ll learn that Operation Warp Speed actually showed the futility of a wartime approach.

But today, it sure seems like the only reason the Trump admin hasn’t secured the production of millions of additional PPE or therapeutics is because it didn’t try.
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct 20
1/ Okay, this is a special one.
2/ A few months ago, I brought an idea to @AdrienneLaF and leadership at @TheAtlantic.

I wanted to make a new kind of climate journalism, written for people who recognize that climate change will be the backdrop of the rest of our lives, reshaping how we work, play, and shop.
3/ Today, I’m thrilled to introduce Planet, The Atlantic’s new section devoted to climate change.

We want to be your source of stellar reporting, expert information, and thoughtful analysis about how to live at this moment.…
Read 15 tweets

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