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Regulating Greenhouse Gases from Coal Power Plants under the Clean Air Act

Author

Listed:
  • Linn, Joshua

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Mastrangelo, Erin
  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

The Clean Air Act has assumed the central role in US climate policy, directing the development of regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. This paper examines the operation of coal-fired generating units over 25 years to estimate the marginal costs and potential magnitude of emissions reductions from improving their efficiency. We find that a 10 percent increase in coal prices causes a 0.2 to 0.5 percent heat rate reduction, broadly consistent with engineering assessments. We also find that coal prices have a significant effect on utilization. The results are used to compare cost-effectiveness of alternative policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Linn, Joshua & Mastrangelo, Erin & Burtraw, Dallas, 2013. "Regulating Greenhouse Gases from Coal Power Plants under the Clean Air Act," Discussion Papers dp-13-05, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-13-05
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-13-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bushnell, James & Wolfram, Catherine, 2008. "Enforcement of Vintage Differentiated Regulations: The Case of New Source Review," Staff General Research Papers Archive 31185, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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    3. Nathaniel O. Keohane & Erin T. Mansur & Andrey Voynov, 2009. "Averting Regulatory Enforcement: Evidence from New Source Review," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 75-104, March.
    4. Boyd, Gale A. & McClelland, John D., 1999. "The Impact of Environmental Constraints on Productivity Improvement in Integrated Paper Plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 121-142, September.
    5. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2006. "Assessing multi-dimensional performance: environmental and economic outcomes," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 213-234, December.
    6. Joskow, Paul L, 1974. "Inflation and Environmental Concern: Structural Change in the Process of Public Utility Price Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 291-327, October.
    7. Kira R. Fabrizio & Nancy L. Rose & Catherine D. Wolfram, 2007. "Do Markets Reduce Costs? Assessing the Impact of Regulatory Restructuring on US Electric Generation Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1250-1277, September.
    8. Paul L. Joskow, 1997. "Restructuring, Competition and Regulatory Reform in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 119-138, Summer.
    9. Fleishman, Rachel & Alexander, Rob & Bretschneider, Stuart & Popp, David, 2009. "Does regulation stimulate productivity? The effect of air quality policies on the efficiency of US power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4574-4582, November.
    10. Denny Ellerman, 1998. "Note on The Seemingly Indefinite Extension of Power Plant Lives, A Panel Contribution," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    11. Severin Borenstein & James B. Bushnell & Frank A. Wolak, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1376-1405, December.
    12. Christopher R. Knittel, 2002. "Alternative Regulatory Methods And Firm Efficiency: Stochastic Frontier Evidence From The U.S. Electricity Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 530-540, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Technology Flexibility and Stringency for Greenhouse Gas Regulations," Discussion Papers dp-13-24, Resources For the Future.
    2. Adair, Sarah K. & Hoppock, David C. & Monast, Jonas J., 2014. "New Source Review and coal plant efficiency gains: How new and forthcoming air regulations affect outcomes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 183-192.
    3. Galloway, Emily & Johnson, Erik Paul, 2016. "Teaching an old dog new tricks: Firm learning from environmental regulation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-10.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas & Fraas, Arthur G. & Richardson, Nathan, 2012. "Tradable Standards for Clean Air Act Carbon Policy," Discussion Papers dp-12-05, Resources For the Future.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2012. "US Status on Climate Change Mitigation," Discussion Papers dp-12-48, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficiency; regulation; greenhouse gas; carbon dioxide; coal; performance standards;

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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