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Articles by Michael Hoexter

Michael Hoexter works in marketing energy-efficiency projects and renewable energy in California. He writes a blog on EE/RE, climate and energy policy, and climate ethics. Later this year, Elsevier will be publishing a book in which he contributed a chapter on energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Featured Article

Bill Gates’ recent entry into the discussion about climate action and technology is welcome. Not only is Gates a very smart guy and one of the world’s leading philanthropists, but he also has at least the reputation of knowing what he is talking about when it comes to technology and innovation.

That being said, his opening moves in this discussion — his speech at the TED conference and a post on his blog — are not beyond criticism. Though by no means his intention, Gates is encouraging a peculiar type of 21st century passivity by government officials, investors, and activists that has a high probability of leading to climate inaction. The “more innovation” meme repeated by Gates has limits that need to be acknowledged.

Gates’ TED speech beautifully outlines the challenge facing us, but I believe it falls down when it comes to solutions and their timing. He seems to feel that energy technology will follow a different, “miraculous” path to commercial acceptance than almost every other new technology.

For Gates, the big deal is reducing the carbon intensity of energy to zero, and he seems to underestimate th... Read more

All Articles

  • Passing the buck or paying the piper

    We have just gone through a period in the U.S. when very little new public infrastructure was built (with the exception of wired and wireless telecommunications infrastructure). Led by a generation and a half of politicians and economic theorists — as well as our own inclinations — Americans have become used to believing that a […]

  • Renewable energy promotion policies: transparent

    The previously discussed finance mechanisms tend to hide the costs of building renewable generators by concealing the actual cost per unit of electricity and costs for the ratepayers or taxpayers as a whole. In an era when so much is hanging on energy policy, it makes more sense to consider policies that do not pull […]

  • Renewable energy promotion policies: non-transparent or hidden

    Tax credit policies One of the ways the gap between market price and feasible price of renewable energy plants has been bridged is through tax benefits to investors. Just as the oil and gas industries have enjoyed various tax benefits to encourage investment in drilling, exploration, and production facilities, in the last couple decades investors […]

  • How do we build (energy) infrastructure?

    The enthusiasm for unregulated markets in the last 30 years of American public policy has obscured how large pieces of infrastructure get built. Unregulated markets, to work according to their ideal, require economic actors to be able to create competing offers which are judged by consumers or buyers according to the total value they represent. […]