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Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Wind-Generated Electricity

Author

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  • Joseph Cullen

Abstract

Production subsidies for renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, are rationalized by their environmental benefits. Subsidizing these projects allows clean, renewable technologies to produce electricity that otherwise would have been produced by dirtier, fossil-fuel power plants. In this paper, I quantify the emissions offset by wind power for a large electricity grid in Texas using the randomness inherent in wind power availability. When accounting for dynamics in the production process, the results indicate that only for high estimates of the social costs of pollution does the value of emissions offset by wind power exceed cost of renewable energy subsidies.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Cullen, 2013. "Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Wind-Generated Electricity," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 107-133, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:107-33
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.4.107
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel T. Kaffine & Brannin J. McBee & Jozef Lieskovsky, 2012. "Emissions savings from wind power generation: Evidence from Texas, California and the Upper Midwest," Working Papers 2012-03, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    2. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
    3. Kevin Novan, 2015. "Valuing the Wind: Renewable Energy Policies and Air Pollution Avoided," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 291-326, August.
    4. Ali Horta├žsu & Steven L. Puller, 2008. "Understanding strategic bidding in multi-unit auctions: a case study of the Texas electricity spot market," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 86-114.
    5. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2008. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 550-561, August.
    6. Ladenburg, Jacob & Dubgaard, Alex, 2007. "Willingness to pay for reduced visual disamenities from offshore wind farms in Denmark," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 4059-4071, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L98 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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