Robert Young | Economics | SIU

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Robert Young

B.S., 1975 & M.S., 1976

Robert Young, two-time alumnus of the SIU Carbondale Economics Department, is Managing Director of Economists.com, LLC, a highly successful company that provides economic and financial consulting services to the utilities industry, worldwide. He graduated from the Department with a Bachelor's degree in 1975, and a Master's degree in 1976. He started out working in utlities regulation, electricity, and telecommunication.

At Economists.com, Robert has done a lot of work with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), leading provider of power to the Pacific Northwest. He now consults internationally, to Micronesia, for example, where energy can cost up to three times what it costs in the United States. He also consults for aluminum companies.

Robert's consulting work focuses on the economics of infrastructure. He presents his ideas at international conferences, such as the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) conference in the Netherlands.

Infrastructure convergence is a key interest for Robert Young -- the possibility of having all U.S. states, or all western European nations, participate on an efficient large-scale power grid. A difficulty, according to Robert, is that federal and state governments are reluctant to relinquish control their chunk of the power grid. Regions are unique, also, as wholesale power markets collapse on the west coast, while expanding on the east coast.

Looking to the future of U.S. energy markets, Robert finds cope for improvement in the menu of contracts available for energy trade. He points out that there is currently not active forward market for electricity, no approval for such purchases. By contrast, for commodities the spot market is only 5 percent of total trade while the forward market is 95 percent. In utilities broadly, the spot market is 30-80 percent of the total, offering no liquidity, no price discovery.


The above article is based on an interview of Robert Young by Professor Scott Gilbert of the SIU Carbondale Economics Department