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Frank A. Wolak Profile

Frank A. Wolak is the Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in the Economics Department and the director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University. His recent research and teaching focuses on design, performance, and monitoring of energy and environmental markets in the United States and globally.

From April 1998 to April 2011, he was chair of the Market Surveillance Committee of the California Independent System Operator. In this capacity, he testified numerous times at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and at various committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives on issues relating to market monitoring and market power in electricity markets. Wolak has also worked on design and regulatory oversight of electricity markets in Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Africa.

Wolak was a member of the Emissions Market Advisory Committee (EMAC) for California’s Market for Greenhouse Gas Emissions allowances from January 2012 to December 2014. This committee advised the California Air Resources Board on the design and monitoring of the state’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gas emissions allowances. In 2017, Wolak and other EMAC members provided an assessment of the extension of the California’s cap and trade market to 2030.


1. Level versus Variability Trade-offs in Wind and Solar Generation Investments: The Case of California,” Wolak FA. NBER Working Paper 22494, August 2016, and The Energy Journal 37 (Special Issue 2), 2016, pp. 185–220.   Go to ⤴︎
2. Simplified Electricity Market Models with Significant Intermittent Renewable Capacity: Evidence from Italy,” Graf C, Qualia F, Wolak FA. NBER Working Paper 27262, May 2020.   Go to ⤴︎
3. “Wholesale Market Design,” Wolak FA. Forthcoming in Handbook on the Economics of Electricity, Glachant JM, Joskow P, Pollitt M. Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.   Go to ⤴︎
5. Can Incentives to Increase Electricity Use Reduce the Cost of Integrating Renewable Resources?” Andersen LM, Hansen LG, Jensen CL, Wolak FA. NBER Working Paper 25615, February 2019.   Go to ⤴︎
8. An Experimental Comparison of Carbon Pricing under Uncertainty in Electricity Markets,” Davis T, Thurber M, Wolak FA. NBER Working Paper 27260, May 2020.   Go to ⤴︎

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