Great Britain’s carbon emissions from electricity generation fell by two-thirds between 2012 and 2019, providing an important example for other nations. This rapid transition was driven by a complex interplay of policies and events: investment in renewable generation, closure of coal power stations, raising carbon prices and energy efficiency measures. Previous studies of the impact of these simultaneous individual measures miss their interactions with each other and with exogenous changes in fuel prices and the weather. Here we use Shapley values, a concept from cooperative game theory, to disentangle these and precisely attribute outcomes (CO2 saved, changes to electricity prices and fossil fuel consumption) to individual drivers. We find the effectiveness of each driver remained stable despite the transformation seen over the 7 years we study. The four main drivers each saved 19–29 MtCO2 per year in 2019, reinforcing the view that there is no ‘silver bullet’, and a multi-faceted approach to deep decarbonisation is essential.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REGULATORY UTILITY COMMISSIONERS
June 4, 2018
Ashley C. Brown
Executive Director, Harvard Electricity Policy Group
Harvard Kennedy School
Excerpt trom the Introduction:
In the past two decades, the mounting risks posed by climate change have motivated businesses, cities, states, national governments, and the international community to pledge to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Given the scale of the problem, the breadth of action must be effective and must set the foundation for increasing mitigation efforts over time. Thus, delivering on these pledges will require effective policies to drive the deployment of low-carbon technologies today and technological innovation in the future to ramp ambition up on par with the risks of climate change.
Climate change is a problem no country can solve by itself. Since the mid-1990s, the United States has advocated for developed and developing countries to work together in combating climate change and, with the United States' leadership, the 2015 Paris Agreement delivered unprecedented commitments by virtually every country on the planet to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the election of Donald J. Trump, an avowed global warming skeptic, has thrown America's commitment to global leadership in doubt. If the United States quits the fight against climate change, this risks unraveling the global coalition and could result in other countries following suit. This would be a tragic mistake with incalculable consequences for the entire planet. Moreover, some nations may retaliate against the United States by imposing tariffs on American-manufactured goods based on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their production.
We study potential equilibria in California’s 2013-2020 cap-and- trade market for greenhouse gasses (GHGs) based on information available before the market started. We find large ex ante uncer- tainty in business-as-usual emissions, and in the abatement that might result from non-market policies, compared to the market- based variation that could plausibly result from changes in al- lowance prices within a politically acceptable range. This implies that the market price is very likely to be determined by an admin- istrative price floor or ceiling. Comparable analysis seems likely to reach similar conclusions in most cap-and-trade markets for GHGs, consistent with outcomes to date in such markets.
On August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Power Plan (CPP) under Clean Air Act 111(d). The CPP limits carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric power plants by providing state specific goals for carbon dioxide emissions from affected electric generating units. As part of the CPP, EPA considered the potential impacts of the CPP on electric system reliability. Specifically, the CPP requires each state to demonstrate in its final state plan submittal that it has considered reliability issues in developing its plan. Separately, on August 3, 2015, EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Commission agreed to coordinate certain activities to help ensure continued reliable electricity generation and transmission during the implementation of the CPP.
While the CPP assigns no direct role to the Commission, it is possible that the Commission may be called upon, through the EPA-DOE-FERC Coordination Document or for other reasons, to address concerns about reliability as the CPP is implemented. In that case, the use of appropriate modeling tools and techniques will be helpful to the Commission in carrying out its responsibilities for reliability.
This white paper identifies four guiding principles that may assist transmission planning entities, which may include regional transmission organizations (RTOs), independent system operators (ISOs), electric utilities, or other interested stakeholders, in conducting effective analysis of the CPP and associated state plans, federal plans or multi-state plans (compliance plans). The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the regional electric reliability organizations may also benefit from following these guiding principles as they perform CPP-related analyses. These guiding principles address four areas: (1) transparency and stakeholder engagement; (2) study methodology and interactions between studies; (3) study inputs, sensitivities and probabilistic analysis; and (4) tools and techniques.
Incorporating these guiding principles in the modeling of the CPP compliance plans is one way to promote a robust analysis of the reliability impacts of the CPP. The guiding principles discussed herein may form the basis for additional action by staff, such as industry outreach or technical conferences, or future action by the Commission.