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Compensation for Electricity Consumers Under a U.S. CO2 Emissions Cap

Author

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  • Paul, Anthony

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Palmer, Karen

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

Policies to cap emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the U.S. economy could pose significant costs on the electricity sector, which contributes roughly 40 percent of total CO2 emissions in the U.S. Using a detailed simulation model of the electricity sector, we evaluate alternative ways that emission allowances can be allocated. Most previous emissions trading programs have allocated the major portion of allowances for free to incumbent firms. In the electricity sector this approach would lead to changes in electricity price that vary by region primarily based primarily on whether prices are market-based or determined by cost-of-service regulation. Allocation to customers, which could be achieved by allocation to local distribution companies (retail utilities) would recover symmetry in the effect of free allocation and lead to signficiantly lower overall electricity prices. However, this form of compensation comes with an efficiency cost that will increase the overall cost of climate policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul, Anthony & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2008. "Compensation for Electricity Consumers Under a U.S. CO2 Emissions Cap," Discussion Papers dp-08-25, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-25
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-08-25.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Ahman, Markus & Burtraw, Dallas & Kruger, Joseph & Zetterberg, Lars, 2007. "A Ten-Year Rule to guide the allocation of EU emission allowances," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1718-1730, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Last Name, First Name, 2009. "Distributional Impacts of Carbon Pricing Policies in the Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-09-43, Resources For the Future.
    2. Kim, Wook & Chattopadhyay, Deb & Park, Jong-bae, 2010. "Impact of carbon cost on wholesale electricity price: A note on price pass-through issues," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 3441-3448.
    3. Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas & Paul, Anthony, 2009. "Allowance Allocation in a CO2 Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program for the Electricity Sector in California," Discussion Papers dp-09-41, Resources For the Future.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit," Discussion Papers dp-08-28, Resources For the Future.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    emissions trading; allowance allocations; electricity; air pollution; auction; grandfathering; cost-effectiveness; greenhouse gases; climate change; global warming; carbon dioxide; asset value; compensation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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