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Federal Policies for Renewable Electricity: Impacts and Interactions

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Listed:
  • Palmer, Karen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Paul, Anthony

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Woerman, Matt

Abstract

Three types of policies that are prominent in the federal debate over addressing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are a cap-and-trade program (CTP) on emissions, a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for electricity production, and tax credits for renewable electricity producers. Each of these policies would have different consequences, and combinations of these policies could induce interactions yielding a whole that is not the sum of its parts. This paper utilizes the Haiku electricity market model to evaluate the economic and technology outcomes, climate benefits, and cost-effectiveness of three such policies and all possible combinations of the policies. A central finding is that the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions from CTP can be significantly greater than those from the other policies, even for similar levels of renewable electricity production, since of the three policies, CTP is the only one that distinguishes electricity generated by coal and natural gas. It follows that CTP is the most cost-effective among these approaches at reducing CO2 emissions. An alternative compliance payment mechanism in an RPS program could substantially affect renewables penetration, and the electricity price effects of the policies hinge partly on the regulatory structure of electricity markets, which varies across the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Palmer, Karen & Paul, Anthony & Woerman, Matt, 2011. "Federal Policies for Renewable Electricity: Impacts and Interactions," Discussion Papers dp-10-53, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-53
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-10-53.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark, 2007. "Can deployment of renewable energy put downward pressure on natural gas prices?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 295-306, January.
    2. Fischer, Carolyn & Preonas, Louis, 2010. "Combining Policies for Renewable Energy: Is the Whole Less Than the Sum of Its Parts?," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 4(1), pages 51-92, June.
    3. Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas, 2005. "Cost-effectiveness of renewable electricity policies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 873-894, November.
    4. Carolyn Fischer, 2010. "Renewable Portfolio Standards: When Do They Lower Energy Prices?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 101-120.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    renewable portfolio standard; renewable energy credits; cap-and-trade; climate policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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