In my research and writing, I seek to break new ground on unsolved regulatory challenges. Among my recent research subjects are the following:
Traditional utilities in a nontraditional world:
As smart grid, storage, and distributed generation offer customers and suppliers new paths to independence from traditional utilities, how do we exploit utilities' strengths while mitigating their dominance?
Multi-jurisdictional resource planning:
FERC is requiring transmission planning over large multi-state regions; transmission planning must take into account non-transmission alternatives. How do FERC and states co-regulate to ensure multi-resource plans that make sense?
A decade after California's 2000 troubles, are we ready to re-examine the potential for retail competition in electricity, with analysis prevailing over advocacy?
Renewable energy tariffs:
Can they satisfy state legislative requirements without triggering federal law preemption?
The purpose of regulation is performance. How do we judge performance by utilities? How do we judge performance by their regulators?
What are the appropriate market structures?
Regulatory "politics" I:
Non-traditional issues (privacy, global warming, technology leadership), and their adherents, are entering the regulatory process, forcefully. How do regulators identify and balance these values? Where is the right boundary between legislatures and commissions?
Regulatory "politics" II:
The new issues are bringing new advocates, ready to lobby any forum with an open door. Are regulators decisionmakers or consensus-builders? Should they preside or lead?
Regulation's internal conflict:
Can we expect regulators simultaneously to boost production and hold producers accountable?
Doctors and nurses need them; so do cosmeticians and manicurists. What about regulatory professionals?
Risky demonstration projects:
Are these the responsibilities of utility ratepayers or federal taxpayers? What are the economical paths to innovation?
How can we best picture complex market structures and regulatory relationships? (No one does this better than Yale professor Edward Tufte. See www.edwardtufte.com.)
Procedures that convert proceedings from party-centric to issue-centric.