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Andlinger Center for Energy & the Environment-Woodrow Wilson School Seminar Series: Erin Mansur, Dartmouth College

Date: April 8, 2013

Time: 4:30 -

Location: Robertson Hall-Bowl 16

Professor Erin Mansur of Dartmouth College will deliver a talk entitled “Spatial and Temporal Herterogeneity of Marginal Emissions: Implications for Electric Cars and Other Electricity-Shifting Policies” as part of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment-Woodrow Wilson School Seminar Series.

In this paper, we develop a methodology for estimating marginal emissions of electricity demand that vary by location and time of day across the United States.  The approach takes account of the generation mix within interconnected electricity markets and shifting load profiles throughout the day.  Using data available for 2007 through 2009, with a focus on carbon dioxide (CO2), we find substantial variation among locations and times of day.  Marginal emission rates are more than three times as large in the upper Midwest compared to the western United States, and within regions, rates for some hours of the day are more than twice those for others.  We apply our results to an evaluation of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).  The CO2 emissions per mile from driving PEVs are less than those from driving a hybrid car in the western United States and Texas. In the upper Midwest, however, charging during the recommended hours at night implies that PEVs generate more emissions per mile than the average car currently on the road.  Underlying many of our results is a fundamental tension between electricity load management and environmental goals: the hours when electricity is the least expensive to produce tend to be the hours with the greatest emissions.  In addition to PEVs, we show how our estimates are useful for evaluating the heterogeneous effects of other policies and initiatives, such as distributed solar, energy efficiency, and real-time pricing.

Erin Mansur is an associate professor in the department of economics at Dartmouth College and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining Dartmouth in 2010, he taught at Yale University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. His research has appeared in several journals including in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Journal of Law and Economics, and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. His research interests are in the fields of industrial organization and environmental economics, focusing primarily on questions regarding energy markets and energy policy. Recent research examines how environmental regulations affect profits, how regulations affect manufacturing employment, how the organization of electricity markets affects economic efficiency, and how resource adequacy, like blackouts, affects productivity.