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Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance

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  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Erin T. Mansur

Abstract

Real-time pricing (RTP) of electricity would improve allocative efficiency and limit wholesalers' market power. Conventional wisdom claims that RTP provides additional environmental benefits. This paper argues that RTP will reduce the variance, both within- and across-days, in the quantity of electricity demanded. We estimate the short-run impacts of this reduction on SO2, NOx, and CO2 emissions. Reducing variance decreases emissions in regions where peak demand is met more by oil-fired capacity than by hydropower, such as the Mid-Atlantic. However, reducing variance increases emissions in more US regions, namely those with more hydropower like the West. The effects are relatively small.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2007. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," NBER Working Papers 13508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13508
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Severin Borenstein & Stephen Holland, 2005. "On the Efficiency of Competitive Electricity Markets with Time-Invariant Retail Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 469-493, Autumn.
    2. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2006. "The Short-Run Effects of Time-Varying Prices in Competitive Electricity Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 127-156.
    3. Severin Borenstein, 2002. "The Trouble With Electricity Markets: Understanding California's Restructuring Disaster," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 191-211, Winter.
    4. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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    6. Caves, Douglas W. & Christensen, Laurits R., 1980. "Econometric analysis of residential time-of-use electricity pricing experiments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 287-306, December.
    7. Peter O. Steiner, 1957. "Peak Loads and Efficient Pricing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 71(4), pages 585-610.
    8. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2006. "The Short-Run Effects of Time-Varying Prices in Competitive Electricity Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 127-156.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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