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Valuing the Wind: Renewable Energy Policies and Air Pollution Avoided

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  • Kevin Novan

Abstract

Exploiting variation in the hourly production from wind turbines, this paper quantifies the heterogeneity in the marginal impact of renewable electricity on pollution. The results reveal that output from competing renewable capacity additions—e.g., wind turbines versus solar panels—provide different marginal external benefits. This finding suggests that, if governments continue to subsidize renewables, an emphasis should be placed on designing policies that internalize the heterogeneous benefits. More generally, my results highlight that, by incorrectly assuming renewable electricity is a homogenous good, we will understate the relative efficiency of the first-best pollution prices. (JEL L94, L98, Q42, Q48, Q51, Q53, Q58)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:7:y:2015:i:3:p:291-326
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20130268
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Chupp, B. Andrew, 2012. "Fiscal federalism and interjurisdictional externalities: New results and an application to US Air pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 449-464.
    2. Severin Borenstein, 2012. "The Private and Public Economics of Renewable Electricity Generation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 67-92, Winter.
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    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
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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