Stavins, Robert. “What are the Benefit and Costs of EPA's Proposed CO2 Regulation?” In, 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract


    On June 2nd, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector.  The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  This is potentially significant, because electricity generation is responsible for about 38 percent of U.S. CO2emissions (about 32 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions).


    On June 18th, EPA published the proposed rule in the Federal Register, initiating a 120-day public comment period.  In my previous essay at this blog, I wrote about the fundamentals and the politics of this proposed rule (EPA’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Why are Conservatives Attacking its Market-Based Options?).  Today I take a look at the economics.

    Hogan, William W.Electricity Market Design and Efficient Pricing: Applications for New England and Beyond.” In, 2014.Abstract
    Electricity markets support open access and non-discrimination to allow competition, entry, and innovation. Investment and operation in the competitive sectors follow the incentives induced by prices. To achieve the intended outcomes of reliability and economic efficiency, it is important to have efficient prices that are consistent with the objectives and operation of the underlying system. The basic design of successful organized electricity markets, built on the principles of bid-based, security-constrained economic dispatch, goes a long way towards meeting this objective. However, the real electricity system involves features that are difficult or impossible to fully reconcile within this core model. This calls for an application of the principles of dispatched-based pricing to move as far as possible to achieving the ideal of efficient pricing and minimizing the need for additional payments through uplift and other interventions to maintain reliability. The challenge is constantly present to match the prices to reflect the actual changing conditions of the dispatch. Motivated by issues under review in New England, a summary of the basic principles and illustrative applications provides examples of seeking the first-best efficient prices to mitigate the unintended consequences of second-best out-of-market payments.
    Hogan, William W.Time-of-Use Rates and Real-Time Prices.” In, 2014.Abstract
    Electricity prices that describe marginal costs can vary substantially over time. Fixed rates ignore changing electricity system conditions. Setting prices that differ for certain periods is an approach to approximating the real-time price. If such time-of-use prices are set in advance, they will necessarily miss the full variability of real real-time prices. A simple index indicates that even very good time-of-use rates would miss the majority of the efficiency gain that would result with use of actual real-time prices.