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Publications

Viewing all publications in Academic Articles/Working Papers
  • (Not So) Clean Peak Energy Standards
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    (Not So) Clean Peak Energy Standards

    By Jeffrey Shrader, Christy Lewis, Gavin McCormick, Isabelle Rabideau, and Burcin Unel
    December 10, 2019

    Growth in electricity storage has the potential to increase emissions from power generation. Concerns about this outcome are currently prompting many policies to address the issue. We study a particularly popular policy proposal called the “Clean Peak Standard” that incentivizes storage to discharge during periods of high electricity demand. The stated goal of the policy is to shift storage discharge to offset production from generators with high pollution emissions. We show that the policy is largely ineffective at achieving this emissions reduction goal. The policy reinforces existing incentives faced by storage operators, so it does not have a strong effect on discharging behavior. It is also unable to capture high-frequency changes in marginal operating emissions rates. Alternative policies, such as a carbon tax, are more effective at reducing the emissions increase caused by storage. Policymakers considering Clean Peak-style policies should instead consider these alternative policies.

  • Electricity Simulations on the Distribution Edge
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Electricity Simulations on the Distribution Edge

    Developing a Granular Representation of End-User Electric Load Preferences using Smart Meter Data

    By Ashwini Bharatkumar, Ricardo Esparza, Kristina Mohlin, Elisheba Spiller, Karen Tapia-Ahumada, and Burcin Unel
    June 1, 2019

    The electric distribution grid is transitioning toward a model in which customers can themselves provide a variety of services to the grid by investing in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as distributed solar generation, programmable appliances, and energy storage. However, customers’ incentives to make these investments depend on how they are being charged for electric service. Despite the topic’s importance for the electric distribution system of the future, the body of literature on the impact of electric rate design on the proliferation of DERs is still limited. Our research improves upon common assumptions of fixed electric demand by incorporating microeconomic theory into an existing engineering simulation model.

  • Regulation in Transition
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Regulation in Transition

    By Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz
    March 6, 2019

    This article, forthcoming in the Minnesota Law Review, identifies a new trend in aggressive regulatory rollbacks and argues that it is likely to become an enduring feature of American politics. Rather than stick to the typical deregulatory playbook, President Trump has made aggressive use of other instruments that had not previously played a significant role. Through these strategies, the Trump administration was able to reach a far greater proportion of regulations finalized during Obama’s presidency than would have been possible under prior practices. In the current climate, aggressive rollback strategies will lead to an important reconceptualization of the Executive Branch, in which future one-term presidents are unlikely to see a significant portion of their regulatory output on important matters survive and the incentives that presidents face in fashioning their regulatory policies will be significantly different. The changing incentives will affect a broad set of decisions, from transition planning for an incoming administration to the timing of regulatory actions relative to a president’s reelection campaign.

  • Sociopolitical Feedbacks and Climate Change
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Sociopolitical Feedbacks and Climate Change

    By Peter Howard and Michael A. Livermore
    March 6, 2019

    This article, published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, investigates sociopolitical feedbacks in the economy-climate system. These feedbacks occur when climate change affects the social or political processes that determine mitigation or adaptation levels, which in turn affect future climate damages. Two possible feedbacks are an economic disruption pathway and a political disruption pathway. In both, climate damages earlier in time undermine mitigation and adaptation policies, which exacerbates future climate damages. Using data on participation in multilateral environmental agreements, the article explores the political disruption pathway.

  • Markets, Externalities, and the Federal Power Act
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Markets, Externalities, and the Federal Power Act

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Authority to Price Carbon Dioxide Emissions

    By Bethany Davis Noll and Burcin Unel
    February 22, 2019

    This article, published in the New York University Environmental Law Journal, shows how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must attempt to address the external cost of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to achieve an efficient electricity market. CO2 emissions impose a significant cost on society by contributing to climate change. The electricity sector is a major source of these emissions, yet their external cost is not fully reflected in electricity rates, and the market outcomes thus do not adjust to reflect those true costs—a classic market failure. This leads to emissions that are higher than optimal.