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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 5 No. 4 (November 2013)

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Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Wind-Generated Electricity

Article Citation

Cullen, Joseph. 2013. "Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Wind-Generated Electricity." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 5(4): 107-33.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.4.107

Abstract

Production subsidies for renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, are rationalized by their environmental benefits. Subsidizing these projects allows clean, renewable technologies to produce electricity that otherwise would have been produced by dirtier, fossil-fuel power plants. In this paper, I quantify the emissions offset by wind power for a large electricity grid in Texas using the randomness inherent in wind power availability. When accounting for dynamics in the production process, the results indicate that only for high estimates of the social costs of pollution does the value of emissions offset by wind power exceed cost of renewable energy subsidies.

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Authors

Cullen, Joseph (Washington U in St Louis)

JEL Classifications

L94: Electric Utilities
L98: Industry Studies: Utilities and Transportation: Government Policy
Q42: Alternative Energy Sources
Q48: Energy: Government Policy
Q51: Valuation of Environmental Effects
Q53: Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters; Global Warming

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