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Electricity restructuring and regional air pollution

Listed author(s):
  • 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

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resource and Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (March)
Pages: 139-174

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Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:19:y:1997:i:1-2:p:139-174
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  1. Biewald, Bruce, 1997. "Competition and clean air: the operating economics of electricity generation," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-45.
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