Thought leadership is vitally important to MJB. We publish and make available thoughtful commentaries and analyses on a broad range of issues that we believe are relevant to decision makers in the energy industry.


Modeling Storm Outages: New Tools for Enhancing Utility Preparedness & Response

Public Utilities Fortnightly (October 2013) The article focuses on developments in the field of  storm outage modeling, why it is important and how it might be incorporated into a utility’s storm preparation and response plans.  Given the impacts of recent storm events (e.g., Hurricanes Irene and Sandy), including the enormous costs of restoration and the extended outages experienced by many customers, sophisticated storm modeling is seen by many utilities as useful and important tool in enhancing the approach to dealing with extreme climate events.

MJB Research Review: Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) as Grid Resources

MJ Beck (July 2010): In this short piece, MJB reviews research in the July 2010 edition of the Energy Journal on the value of  using plug in hybrid electric vehicles  (PHEV) as grid resources.  The authors simulate PHEV dispatch into the ERCOT region at various levels of PHEV penetration to derive economic value.

IOUs Under Pressure

Public Utilities Fortnightly (June 2009): The electric utility business model is under long-term pressure. The demonstrable need for massive investment in electricity delivery infrastructure, along with the construction of new, clean production technologies, presages enormous cost pressures on ratepayers—and the utilities that serve them. Many knowledgeable observers believe the industry is, and will continue to undergo, change on an unprecedented scale. If so, why would the current utility model be immune from such changes? Read “IOUs Under Pressure,” published recently Public Utilities Fortnightly, for an insightful look at the challenges and opportunities facing utilities.

New Money into the Generation Market

Public Utilities Fortnightly (September 2004): “The electric power industry is characterized by a number of factors that tend to delimit the universe of entities that can be successful in the market in the long term. Electricity production is cyclical, highly capital intensive, commodity-based, and volatile. Cyclical, capital-intensive industries are characterized by relatively low long-term returns.”

Power Generations and Industry Cycles

PA Viewpoint:“A well designed and executed strategic plan can free a company from the undesirable position of simply riding market fluctuations and getting caught in a distressingly common ‘buy high/sell low’ strategy. As witnessed in other commodity-based industries, such as aluminium, pulp & paper and basic chemicals, successful companies develop strategies based on a number of key concepts:”


MJB Research Review: Why Do States Adopt Renewable Portfolio Standards?

MJ Beck (July 2010): In this short piece, MJB reviews research in the July 2010 edition of the Energy Journal on why some states have adopted RPS programs while others have not.  The authors draw on three political economy theories of regulation to help shape their hypotheses around the drivers of RPS adoption and design.

Paying For Renewable Energy, TLC at the Right Price

DB Climate Change Advisors (December 2009): Released at Copenhagen during the Climate Summit, M.J. Beck Consulting provided information and analysis on the state of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the US and overseas. The paper suggests augmenting RPS programs and REC trading with feed-in-tariff type characteristics such as standard offer PPAs and minimum REC prices.

Understanding REC Pricing Fundamentals

MJ Beck (June 2010): Original research from the  RPS and REC Fundamentals team. This article analyzes the factors impacting short and long term pricing of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and how REC prices interact with power prices and carbon prices.

RPS Programs and Cross Border Eligibility

MJ Beck (October 2010): This article looks at the complex interrelatedness of RPS programs that allow out-of-state renewable generation to participate as eligible resources and how this impacts supply and demand under RPS programs.

Renewable Portfolio Standards & REC Pricing

Deutsche Bank (June 2009): Presentation at the Deutsche Bank Clean Alternate Energy Conference on the state of Renewable Portfolio Standards and challenges in REC pricing. Includes RPS overview, State and Federal Targets, market size and Investment Implications.

Challenges of Playing Favorites: State & Federal RPS Programs

MJ Beck (April 2009): Articles shows the diversity of routes taken by State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Programs in promoting specific renewable energy technology types and the challenges that this poses for integration with a Federal standard. Twenty Seven (27) of the 35 state RPS programs have some form of technology favoritism. The Waxman-Markey federal proposal has none. As with all aspects of RPS, the devil is in the details.

Renewable Portfolio Standard Policy Challenges

Washington Energy Policy Conference (April 2009): Presenation at Johns Hopkins University on policy challenges associated with Renewable Portfolio Standard Design and analysis.

Changes to the UK Renewable Obligation

Infrastructure Journal (June 2007): In 2007, the UK changed the nature of its support for renewable energy via the Renewable Obligation and ROC certificate mechanism from one that is technology neutral to one which provides differentiated support based on type of technology used. This article described those changes and commented on the policy decision.


State Energy Efficiency Programs: A Survey of Targets, Funding & Administration Approaches

MJ Beck (June 2010): There is general agreement on the benefits of energy efficiency, but successful program design and implementation to achieve energy efficiency has proven to be a challenge that each state has approached differently.  This article provides a state-by-state review of energy efficiency program implementation, energy efficiency portfolio standards, program funding, and incentives in the U.S.


Energy Independence – Not Likely, Not Necessary

Spark Spread (June 2009): The US goal of energy independence, typically defined as complete self‐sufficiency for indigenous energy requirements, is an ill‐conceived and unachievable objective. This holds for the foreseeable future and most likely beyond. A more realistic, and achievable, goal is to reduce and diversify energy dependence on any one fuel, geography, or technology.