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Pollution and the Price of Power

  • Donald N Dewees

Recent benefit-cost studies have shown that the marginal benefits from controlling conventional air emissions from coal-fired electric utility power plants in the US exceed marginal costs of pollution control. Moreover existing and proposed regulations ignore harm caused by the emission of greenhouse gases and harm caused in Canada. This means that electricity prices are too low wherever coal is the predominant fuel. However the same studies suggest that the mis-pricing of electricity is 4% or less. This paper will argue that in some regions of the US the wholesale price of electricity should be increased by up to 50%, if all externalities are to be included in the price. Getting the environmental price right could reduce pollution levels, increase energy conservation, and lead to wiser choices of new generation technology.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-246.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-246
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 978-5283

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  1. Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas, 2005. "Cost-effectiveness of renewable electricity policies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 873-894, November.
  2. Gernot Klepper & Sonja Peterson, 2006. "Emissions Trading, CDM, JI, and More: The Climate Strategy of the EU," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-26.
  3. Spencer Banzhaf, H. & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2004. "Efficient emission fees in the US electricity sector," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 317-341, September.
  4. Richard S. J. Tol, 1999. "The Marginal Costs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 61-81.
  5. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2005. "Reducing Emissions from the Electricity Sector: The Costs and Benefits Nationwide and for the Empire State," Discussion Papers dp-05-23, Resources For the Future.
  6. Paul L. Joskow, 2006. "Markets for Power in the United States: An Interim Assessment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-36.
  7. Donald N. Dewees, 2006. "Electricity Restructuring and Regulation in the Provinces: Ontario and Beyond," Working Papers tecipa-205, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  8. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer & Alan J. Krupnick, 1997. ""Second-Best" Adjustments to Externality Estimates in Electricity Planning with Competition," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(2), pages 224-239.
  9. Paul L. Joskow & Richard Schmalensee, 1988. "Markets for Power: An Analysis of Electrical Utility Deregulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600188, June.
  10. Neuhoff, K. & Grubb, M. & Keats, K., 2005. "Impact of the allowance allocation on prices and efficiency," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0552, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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