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

  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Erin T. Mansur

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13508.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13508.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Publication status: published as Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2008. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 550-561, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13508
Note: EEE IO
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  1. Severin Borenstein & Stephen P. Holland, 2003. "On the Efficiency of Competitive Electricity Markets With Time-Invariant Retail Prices," NBER Working Papers 9922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Herriges, Joseph A. & Baladi, S. M. & Caves, Douglas W. & Neenan, B. F., 1993. "The Response of Industrial Customers to Electric Rates Based Upon Dynamic Marginal Costs," Staff General Research Papers 1497, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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