Performance analysis of US coal-fired power plants by measuring three DEA efficiencies
Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) has been widely used for performance evaluation of many organizations in private and public sectors. This study proposes a new DEA approach to evaluate the operational, environmental and both-unified performance of coal-fired power plants that are currently operating under the US Clean Air Act (CAA). The economic activities of power plants examined by this study are characterized by four inputs, a desirable (good) output and three undesirable (bad) outputs. This study uses Range-Adjusted Measure (RAM) because it can easily incorporate both desirable and undesirable outputs in the unified analytical structure. The output unification proposed in this study has been never investigated in the previous DEA studies even though such a unified measure is essential in guiding policy makers and corporate leaders. Using the proposed DEA approach, this study finds three important policy implications. First, the CAA has been increasingly effective on their environmental protection. The increased environmental performance leads to the enhancement of the unified efficiency. Second, the market liberalization/deregulation was an important business trend in the electric power industry. Such a business trend was legally prepared by US Energy Policy Act (EPAct). According to the level of the market liberalization, the United States is classified into regulated and deregulated states. This study finds that the operational and unified performance of coal-fired power plants in the regulated states outperforms those of the deregulated states because the investment on coal-fired power plants in the regulated states can be utilized as a financial tool under the rate-of-return criterion of regulation. The power plants in the deregulated states do not have such a regulation premium. Finally, plant managers need to balance between their environmental performance and operational efficiency.
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