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Comments by Elias Hinckley Subscribe

On Energy and Real Estate are Colliding

Bob - thank you for the thoughtful summary of some of my firm's energy finance experience!  

June 9, 2015    View Comment    

On The IMF Just Destroyed the Best Argument Against Clean Energy

If there were transparency and educated consumers that might work, the problem is we have neither (and there is a time lag as well, even if it is shorter than climate effects) and so the fact that the costs roughly overlay the same population doesn't really address the market distortion that supports embracing the status quo. Not suggesting any of this is easy - but difficult isn't a good excuse for not doing the right thing. 

June 8, 2015    View Comment    

On The IMF Just Destroyed the Best Argument Against Clean Energy

As I noted in the article - there is plenty of room to quibble with the exact numbers from the report - both specific values and what was included/excluded.  That said the fact of the subsidies, and therefore the need to address as part of the "expensive" discussion was the point.

Taking the average of your numbers (including some fairly low outliers, but not the IMF amounts) you have a blended number of $53/MWh, plus any direct subsidies.  If we take the US as an example (a good one, since we have sharpened the "clean energy is too expensive" rhetoric better than anyone else), the offensively high subsidy that gave wind power an unfair advantage, the Production Tax Credit was $23/MWh.  The  Investment Credit impact on solar is even less than that per MWh for ground mount PV and even some rooftop installations now.  

That isn't over-subsidization. The existing "too expensive subsidies" didn't even get the non-emitting sources to even in terms of taxpayer burden, using consevative estimates of the external costs.  And that should be the discussion, agreeing on appropriate numbers for fossil fuel subsidies so that we can actually structure a market that can operate fairly and freely.

 

June 7, 2015    View Comment    

On Everything Has Changed: Oil, Saudi Arabia, and the End of OPEC

Oh I don't disagree we could see another cycle for both prices and E&P investment globally, my point was that this is the start of a fundamental (and permanent) change in the approach by the most important player in the market. 

January 12, 2015    View Comment    

On It's Time to Abandon the Delusion of a Carbon Tax

I am going to respectfully disagree.

1) Correcting a market distortion isn't the same as arbitrarily rising prices.

2) Price signals drive R&D, deployment and scale all of which drive technology costs down (not to say government funded R&D does not, but ignore the other ignores an important economic fact).

3) When did "the right thing seems too hard" become an acceptable policy position?

4) Big investment in alternative energy technologies will be embraced with bipartisan support just about as well as it was in 2011 as Solyndra's failure became a rallying cry for the tea party about misused government dollars.

 

 

 

September 30, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Looks like un-referenced assertions.  Provide clear and concise references and maybe you have a case (though not really, this is meant to be a professional forum and identifying yourself seems a base-line courtesy). 

June 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Lot of lost dollars by people who refused to believe change was possible (e.g., buggy makers, investors in rotary phones, typewriters, vcrs, etc).  

Also, technical innovation, moving beyond what was thought possible, and finding a better more effecient and democratic solution is what built America. 

June 19, 2014    View Comment    

On Barclays Just Threw Gasoline on the Fire that is the Battle Between Utilities and the Solar Industry

Lot of effort put into a comment to which you won't attach your own name/profile.  

June 19, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Impassioned debate is great – I know feelings run deep on this subject (I’ll be addressing this in a new piece shortly) and there are lots of us that have been in energy for a long time and feel extremely confident in the correctness of our convictions, but I also think it is important to keep a respectful tone and work to persuade, not bully. 

June 8, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Certainly aware of the frustration with the perceived lack of support for next gen nuclear technology.  That is a separate issue.  Whether we should be picking/supporting specific technologies based on relative merits of the potential is an important discussion, but secondary to the fundamental need to get the pricing transparency in place that will support innovation broadly.

There is a very curious dynamic in these responses where the pro-nuke crowd seems to be against clear market price signals from fossil based generation, which could be read as a fairly stark admission that even with a meaningful price on carbon the technology can’t compete?

June 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Completely understand your challenge, concerns, and frustration – and this hits at the core of what scares people about the energy transition we have started (which is happening irrespective of climate and carbon rules).  Cheap available energy has been a fundamental foundation for economic prosperity in industrialized society, maybe nowhere more than here in the U.S.

Unfortunately the transition away from our recent historic model of extract and burn is structurally certain.  The only question is the pace of the transition. I see this as a question of how to best manage the process – and that needs to balance adequate incentives to support more efficient use of the resources we have, incentives to support innovation (technology is the one real hope in all this), and protecting those that are unfairly more exposed to this change than others.

Obviously this has layers of politics to it, but transparency and understanding of the true costs are, to my view, a vital piece of getting this right.

June 1, 2014    View Comment    

On Climate Change and the American Economy

Translation: "my technological preference isn't ready to compete, so we shouldn't change the rules yet" 

June 1, 2014    View Comment