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I suspect every model is currently broken, and they are all distorted by: regulatory capture.

My guess is that without storage systems, wind and solar and distributed power will always be "regulated away" by wealthy incumbents.

But with storage systems, new forms of power will be valid participants and maybe there is a chance of an efficient energy market.

"Regulatory capture" hits that sweet spot of being easy to grasp, somewhat smart, and sufficiently cynical.

But while it is definitely a valid concern, and probably applicable to energy markets, it is unlikely to be the single reason for any and every problem with energy markets and production.

Using it as a highbrow euphemism for "corruption" probably causes more harm than it is useful: it gives license to ignore actual technical problems and the painstaking search for solutions, opting instead for an all-encompassing, nihilistic, and cynical narrative where nothing really can be done, except trying to tear down ever more existing institutions.

I also don't quite understand how storage systems are supposed to bypass problems arising from "regulatory capture". If incumbents get to write the rules in their favour, they could just as easily keep newcomers using storage out of the market as those without.

I really appreciate your comment but I think another element we need to consider is what type of leadership is going to force change.

Whenever I see people throw around “regulatory capture” when talking about immensely complex and finely tuned systems for delivering critical services, I think of newbie programmers who approach a big legacy codebase with the idea “oh this is all crap, we should just rewrite it.”

The electric grid is the product of a century of technical and regulatory co-design. If you were starting from scratch with an eye to accommodating renewables, you wouldn’t design either the grid or the regulations the way they are. But you’re not. You’re slowly evolving the system from point A to point B. You’re dealing with expensive physical infrastructure built on 30 year planning horizons, in many cases with express guarantees about revenues (because at the time, you needed that capacity and sought to induce someone to build it).

When I think of distortions to the energy market, I think of screwed up regulation. And it is usually not to the benefit of the customers.

A friend in texas pays about .06/kwh for residential power. In California, PG&E gets power at 0.03/0.04 per kwh, and resells it to residential customers for .22/.28/.49 per kwh. (you pay more when you use more, unlike any other commodity)

I hope these markets benefit from robust competition, and maybe projects like this help. Allow alternative energy, route around distribution problems and shake things up a bit.

(yeah, "throw out the old code, rewrite it")

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