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The carbon performance of the 100 largest US electricity producers

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  • Busch, Timo
  • Weinhofer, Georg
  • Hoffmann, Volker H.
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    Abstract

    Efforts towards decarbonizing the energy system have to focus on individual actors within the system. Their current and potential future stake in energy consumption and contribution to climate change has to be analyzed when formulating energy policies targeting system-wide reduction efforts. Focusing on firms, this paper develops a framework for the assessment of corporate carbon performance. We use this framework for an empirical assessment of the 100 largest US electricity producers within three different carbon scenarios. Our results show that in a scenario without changes in the US institutional environment electricity producers will not face a severe increase of their carbon exposure and only a small improvement regarding the carbon intensity of the electricity mix is achieved. In a scenario with more carbon-constrained US energy market conditions some companies face a financial risk from using and emitting carbon that more than triples compared to today. However, in a scenario with strong investments in renewable energy technologies the carbon dependency of electricity production can be significantly reduced. We discuss these findings from a climate policy and financial markets perspective.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Utilities Policy.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 95-103

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:95-103

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30478

    Related research

    Keywords: External stakeholders Carbon constraints Climate change regulation Renewable energy Carbon scenarios;

    References

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    1. Sun, J. W., 2005. "The decrease of CO2 emission intensity is decarbonization at national and global levels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 975-978, May.
    2. Blyth, William & Bradley, Richard & Bunn, Derek & Clarke, Charlie & Wilson, Tom & Yang, Ming, 2007. "Investment risks under uncertain climate change policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5766-5773, November.
    3. Sekar, Ram C. & Parsons, John E. & Herzog, Howard J. & Jacoby, Henry D., 2007. "Future carbon regulations and current investments in alternative coal-fired power plant technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1064-1074, February.
    4. Schleich, Joachim, 2009. "Barriers to energy efficiency: A comparison across the German commercial and services sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2150-2159, May.
    5. Repetto, R. & Henderson, J., 2003. "Environmental exposures in the US electric utility industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 103-111, June.
    6. Nagesha, N. & Balachandra, P., 2006. "Barriers to energy efficiency in small industry clusters: Multi-criteria-based prioritization using the analytic hierarchy process," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 1969-1983.
    7. Meier, Paul J. & Wilson, Paul P. H. & Kulcinski, Gerald L. & Denholm, Paul L., 2005. "US electric industry response to carbon constraint: a life-cycle assessment of supply side alternatives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1099-1108, June.
    8. Jacobsson, Staffan & Johnson, Anna, 2000. "The diffusion of renewable energy technology: an analytical framework and key issues for research," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 625-640, July.
    9. Busch, Timo & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2007. "Emerging carbon constraints for corporate risk management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 518-528, May.
    10. Rohdin, Patrik & Thollander, Patrik & Solding, Petter, 2007. "Barriers to and drivers for energy efficiency in the Swedish foundry industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 672-677, January.
    11. Kydes, Andy S., 2007. "Impacts of a renewable portfolio generation standard on US energy markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 809-814, February.
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