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Energy Efficiency Starts At The Bottom, And It’s Our Best Chance To Delay 1.5 C Of Change

How to work around an army of captured regulators.

4 min readMay 15, 2022


A series of tweets reminded me that our energy bureaucracy does not work for the rest of us. The revolving door between the public and the private sector has allowed the energy industry to staff the commissions and boards that approve massive energy production projects, with people who would rather see higher profits than a cooler planet. The following tweet has some clues:

Michael Lee is CEO of Octopus Energy in Texas. He’d know the situation well in Texas. So I looked up his company and found the plans they’re offering. It’s not looking very good. For a new contract with Octopus, they’re locking rates at 20 cents a kilowatt-hour. I pay no more than 11 cents per kilowatt-hour here in Utah.

But Texas is special. They pride themselves on innovation. To avoid compliance requirements from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Texas is an energy island. They don’t interconnect with other states to balance supply and demand with their customers.

In his thread of tweets, Lee makes some really good points, but the one that really stood out was this one:

There are tons of projects waiting to be approved in Texas, and he estimates that the capacity waiting to be approved is equal to two times what is already installed there. But the agency responsible for approving all that new capacity can’t move fast enough.

Lee rightly points out in other tweets in that thread, that they’re faster in Texas than in places like California or New England. In Texas, the approval time is about 3–4 years. In California, it’s more like 5–8 years. Remember, he’s…