IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Electricity restructuring and regional air pollution


  • Palmer, Karen
  • Burtraw, Dallas


This paper investigates the regional air pollution effects that could result from new opportunities for inter-regional power transmission in the wake of more competitive electricity markets. The regional focus is important because of great regional variation in the vintage, efficiency and plant utilization rates of existing generating capacity, as well as differences in emission rates, cost of generation and electricity price. Increased competition in generation could open the door to changes in the regional profile of generation and emissions. We characterize the key determinant of changes in electricity generation and transmission as the relative cost of electricity among neighboring regions. In general, low cost regions are expected to export power generated by existing coal-fired facilities to higher cost regions. The key determinant of how much additional power would be traded is the uncommitted electricity transfer capability between regions, including its possible future expansion. The changes in emissions of NOx and CO2 that result are modeled as a function of the average emission rate for each pollutant in each region, coupled with assumptions about the extent of displacement of nuclear or coal-fired generation in the importing regions. Finally, we employ an atmospheric transport model to predict the changes in atmospheric concentrations of in each region as a consequence of changes in generation for inter-regional transmission. In the year 2000, we estimate national emission changes for NOx could increase by 213,000 to 478,900 tons under the scenarios we think most likely, compared to the baseline. Under our benchmark scenario, we find national emissions of NOx would increase by 349,900 tons. The changes in NOx emissions should be considered in the context of an expected decrease in annual emissions nationally of over 2 million tons that will result from full implementation of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments over the next few years. The increase in emiss
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas, 1997. "Electricity restructuring and regional air pollution," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 139-174, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:19:y:1997:i:1-2:p:139-174

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Biewald, Bruce, 1997. "Competition and clean air: the operating economics of electricity generation," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-45.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Krupnick, Alan & Palmer, Karen & Paul, Anthony & Toman, Michael & Bloyd, Cary, 2003. "Ancillary benefits of reduced air pollution in the US from moderate greenhouse gas mitigation policies in the electricity sector," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 650-673, May.
    2. Farrell, Alex & Carter, Robert & Raufer, Roger, 1999. "The NOx Budget: market-based control of tropospheric ozone in the northeastern United States," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 103-124, May.
    3. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
    4. Shih, Hsin-Chin, 2007. "Evaluating the prospective effects of alternative regulatory policies on the investment behaviour and environmental performance of a newly liberalised electricity industry in Taiwan," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 320-335, December.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & McGuinness, Meghan, 2002. "Uncertainty and the Cost-Effectiveness of Regional NOx Emissions Reductions from Electricity Generation," Discussion Papers dp-02-01-, Resources For the Future.
    6. Timothy Brennan & Karen Palmer & Salvador Martinez, 2002. "Implementing Electricity Restructuring," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 99-132, June.
    7. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Krupnick, Alan & Toman, Michael & Paul, Anthony & Bloyd, Cary, 2001. "Ancillary Benefits of Reduced Air Pollution in the United States from Moderate Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies in the Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-01-61-, Resources For the Future.
    8. Halstead, John M. & Huang, Ju-Chin & Stevens, Thomas H. & Harper, Wendy, 2002. "Tinkering With Valuation Estimates: Is There A Future For Willingness To Accept Measures?," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19724, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    9. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2005. "The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Restructuring: Looking Back and Looking Forward," Discussion Papers dp-05-07, Resources For the Future.
    10. Jacques, Christiane & Lafrance, Gaetan & Doucet, Joseph A., 2001. "Inertia in the North American electricity industry: is it realistic to think that the Kyoto Protocol objectives can be met?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 453-463, May.
    11. Cao, Jing & Ho, Mun & Jorgenson, Dale, 2008. "“Co-benefits” of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies in China: An Integrated Top-Down and Bottom-Up Modeling Analysis," Discussion Papers dp-08-10-efd, Resources For the Future.
    12. Tschirhart, John & Wen, Shiow-Ying, 1999. "Tradable Allowances in a Restructuring Electric Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-214, September.
    13. Halstead, John M. & Stevens, Thomas H. & Harper, Wendy & Hill, L. Bruce, 2004. "Electricity Deregulation and the Valuation of Visibility Loss in Wilderness Areas: A Research Note," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 34(1).
    14. Palmer, Karen & Ando, Amy, 1998. "Getting on the Map: The Political Economy of State-Level Electricity Restructuring," Discussion Papers dp-98-19-rev, Resources For the Future.
    15. Pillai N., Vijayamohanan, 2008. "Power Sector Reform: Some Lessons for Kerala," MPRA Paper 12334, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Mason, Robin & Swanson, Timothy, 2002. "The costs of uncoordinated regulation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 143-167, January.
    17. Burtraw, Dallas & Toman, Michael, 1997. "The Benefits of Reduced Air Pollutants in the U.S. from Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policies," Discussion Papers dp-98-01-rev, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:19:y:1997:i:1-2:p:139-174. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.