Few papers by young academics have been as influential on energy economics as ‘The Allocation of Energy Resources’ by William Nordhaus (1973). To me, the influence of Nordhaus' work causes mixed feelings. His ‘backstop technology’ concept is a source of inspiration. Although mainly used as keystone to seal his model, his square choice for nuclear power as backstop supply was unfounded. The enduring influence of ‘econometric-engineering’ models on public energy policy-makers often precludes a necessary broader decision-making approach.

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