Mixing and Matching Electricity Sector Policies

A number of concerns have emerged over the last decade about climate change, energy security, and energy efficiency, inspiring an equally long list of proposed policy fixes. The majority of these options, including renewables subsidies, performance standards, and emissions pricing schemes, apply directly to the power sector. Lawmakers can also choose to implement multiple policies […]

Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness in Proposed Climate Policies

Achieving the goal of an 83 percent reduction in US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissionsfrom 2005 levels by 2050 will require the electricity sector—which accounts for roughly 40 percent of US CO2 emissions—to make an enormous pivot away from fossil fuels toward non-emitting sources. Policy will be required to achieve this goal. In a recent RFF […]

Preserving Flexibility

Decisions EPA is making today will have a major impact on the cost-effectiveness of its planned move to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The agency has proposed and will soon finalize performance standards for new power plants. These new-source standards are a prerequisite for the planned existing-source standards, but are ostensibly otherwise unrelated […]

Who Benefits from Flexible GHG Rules?

US climate policy is unfolding under the Clean Air Act. Mobile source and construction permitting regulations are in place. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed draft final rules for the performance of new power plants. Most important, EPA and the states will soon determine the form and stringency of the regulations for existing […]

How the Cold Snapped Clean Currents

Renewable power retailer Clean Currents will no longer provide electricity to its 15,000+ customers, as it had reliably done since 2005. Co-founders Gary Skulnik and Charlie Segerman announced on Friday that the company has shut its doors forever. Why? In a blog post to its customers, the duo explains that the recent severe cold weather […]

Taxing Electricity’s Carbon Emissions at Social Cost

A national tax on carbon emissions would offer an opportunity for deficit reduction and/or tax reform, as well as climate change mitigation. Economists studying taxes on environmental harms, such as carbon emissions, often suggest that the tax be set according to the damage inflicted by the last unit of emissions. In the case of carbon, […]

How Energy Efficiency Features are Reflected in Home Prices

In a recent analysis of real estate data from Portland, OR; Austin, TX; and the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, we find, with colleague Todd Gerarden, that local “green” certifications appear to have a larger impact on sales prices for homes than the national Energy Star certification. We also find that Energy Star certification […]

Economic Challenges for New Nuclear Power

Along with increased reliance on wind and solar, a shift toward more nuclear power has frequently been cited as a way of lessening the carbon “footprint” associated with society’s dependence on fossil fuels. Alas, the likelihood of such a scenario appears to be dimming. For more than two decades, the nuclear share of total U.S. […]

The German Energy Experiment

The rapid change in Germany’s energy mix – the Energiewende, or “energy shift”—is readily apparent to any visitor. Towering wind turbines sprout from ridges, just as across much of Europe and parts of the U.S. The bigger surprise—and bigger change in just the last few years—is the increase in solar deployment. Not just rooftops, but […]

Subsidies for EVs: Good Policy or an Unnecessary Handout?

In this series of blog posts, RFF researchers Virginia D. McConnell and Joshua Linn take a look at the current state of the electric vehicles (EVs) and the effect of current and future policies on the market. Click to read the first, second, third, and fourth installments. It is clear from our earlier blog that electric […]