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Social Costing of Electricity in Maryland: Effects on Pollution, Investment, and Prices

Karen Palmer, Alan Krupnick, Hadi Dowlatabadi and Stuart Siegel

Year: 1995
Volume: Volume16
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol16-No1-1
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Many state public utility commissions (PUCs) have started to require electric utilities to consider environmental and other externalities in their planning processes. To date social costing has been applied exclusively to the evaluation of new sources of electricity. More comprehensive approaches to social costing would include requiring the utility to dispatch both new and existing generating units according to social cost, or requiring electricity consumers to pay a price for electricity that reflects its full social cost. Using estimates of external costs taken from the literature, this study contrasts the implications of these three different approaches for utility decision making, electricity prices, demand for electricity and other fuels and the net emissions of selected pollutants for a Maryland utility. We find that applying social costing at the investment stage only may lead to reduced investment in new resources, increased use of existing generation resources and higher emissions of key pollutants. Applying social costing to dispatch generally leads to increased levels of investment in clean technologies, lower levels of emissions and only moderate price increases. Also, social costing of electricity generally has a small impact on consumer demand for natural gas.

Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change Through Energy Efficiency: the RFF Haiku Electricity Market Model

Anthony Paul, Matt Woerman, and Karen Palmer

Year: 2011
Volume: Volume 32
Number: Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-SI1-11
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This analysis uses the RFF Haiku electricity market model to analyze several of the policies under consideration for EMF-25: an energy (electricity) tax, a carbon tax, a subsidy to energy efficiency and a combination of the last two policies. Reported results include the effects of these policies on electricity demand, electricity price, and emissions of CO2 from the electricity sector. This analysis also reports a partial equilibrium measure of the net economic benefits of each policy that accounts for the economic benefits of CO2 emissions reductions and the electricity market economic surplus costs of each of the policies. The findings suggest that policies that increase electricity prices can actually increase total economic surplus in electricity markets in some parts of the country. This result hinges on electricity market regulation and the price impact of the policy. Given the scale of the policies modeled here and for mid-range estimates of the social costs of CO2 emissions, the carbon tax policy produces the largest increase in net economic surplus.

Cost-Effectiveness of Electricity Energy Efficiency Programs

Toshi H. Arimura, Shanjun Li, Richard G. Newell, and Karen Palmer

Year: 2012
Volume: Volume 33
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.4
View Abstract

We analyze the cost-effectiveness of electric utility ratepayer–funded programs to promote demand-side management (DSM) and energy efficiency (EE) investments. We specify a model that relates electricity demand to previous EE DSM spending, energy prices, income, weather, and other demand factors. In contrast to previous studies, we allow EE DSM spending to have a potential long-term demand effect and explicitly address possible endogeneity in spending. We find that current period EE DSM expenditures reduce electricity demand and that this effect persists for a number of years. Our findings suggest that ratepayer funded DSM expenditures between 1992 and 2006 produced a central estimate of 0.9 percent savings in electricity consumption over that time period and a 1.8 percent savings over all years. These energy savings came at an expected average cost to utilities of roughly 5 cents per kWh saved when future savings are discounted at a 5 percent rate. Keywords: Energy efficiency, Demand-side management, Electricity demand

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