Author Archives: Severin Borenstein

About Severin Borenstein

Severin Borenstein is E.T. Grether Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy at the Haas School of Business. He has published extensively on the oil and gasoline industries, electricity markets and pricing greenhouse gases. His current research projects include the economics of renewable energy, economic policies for reducing greenhouse gases, and alternative models of retail electricity pricing. In 2012-13, he served on the Emissions Market Assessment Committee that advised the California Air Resources Board on the operation of California’s Cap and Trade market for greenhouse gases. Currently, he chairs the California Energy Commission's Petroleum Market Advisory Committee and is a member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Advisory Council.

What Do We Want From California Climate Policy?

When you listen closely to debates over California climate change policy, it becomes clear that the disagreements are along two dimensions: what is the best approach to meeting the state’s goals and what exactly are those goals. I think the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Fight Both Local and Global Pollution, But Separately

Since discussions of California’s cap and trade program for greenhouse gases (GHGs) began more than a decade ago, many environmental justice (EJ) leaders have voiced concerns about the fairness of cap and trade to disadvantaged communities.  Like most environmental economists, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Electricity Rate Design for the Real World

For decades economists have bemoaned the fact that retail electricity prices don’t adjust to reflect the volatile cost of providing energy.  Because electricity is not storable, the wholesale cost can change by a factor of five or more within a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Trash those incandescent bulbs today!

When it comes to lighting, I’m no early adopter.  For the last 20 years, I’ve annoyed my energy efficiency friends by arguing that those curlicue compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) were overhyped. The light quality is still inferior; they still warm … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Fixing a major flaw in cap-and-trade

While many Californians are spending August burning fossil fuels to travel to vacation destinations, the state legislature is negotiating with Gov. Brown over whether and how to extend the California’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Who’s Stranded Now?

Utility costs are like taxes.  Everyone knows they have to be paid, but most people have a reason that their own share should be smaller.  And, just as with taxes, there are limitless ways to divide up the revenue burden. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Is Electricity Pricing Different from “Real Markets”? Should It Be?

“No company in a real market would ever price that way.”  If you’ve discussed electricity pricing much, you’ve surely heard this said by a person opposed to one retail tariff or another.  In almost every instance, however, the claim is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Is Distributed Generation the Answer to Regulatory Dysfunction?

One delightful aspect of teaching an MBA course in energy and environmental markets is getting together with my former students as they pursue careers in the industries I study.  I learn so much about the latest trends and ideas in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Driving Taxes for the 21st Century

Both Max and Lucas have recently written on this blog about the need to price gasoline appropriately. I agree with them…mostly.  I mean, how could I disagree with them? I’m the one driving the gray Prius with the license plate … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Is “Community Choice” Electric Supply a Solution or a Problem?

Big news! If you live in California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, or a few other states you may soon have the opportunity to ditch your local investor-owned utility and buy your electricity from a competing retailer.  And in a few … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 37 Comments