Cost Effectiveness of CO2 Mitigation Technologies and Policies in the Electricity Sector
In order to find politically feasible ways to reduce greenhouse gas emission emissions, governments must examine how policies affect a variety of stakeholders. The costs and benefits of low carbon technology options are unique and affect different market participants in different ways. In this thesis, we examine the cost effectiveness of carbon mitigation technologies and policies from the social perspective and from the perspective of consumers. In Chapter 2, we perform an engineering-economic analysis of hybridizing concentrating solar thermal power with fossil fuel. We examine the cost effectiveness of substituting the solar power for new coal or gas and find the cost of mitigation to be approximately ~$130/tCO2 to ~$300/tCO2. In Chapter 3, we quantify some externalized social costs and benefits of wind energy. We estimate the costs due to variability and transmission unique to wind to have an expected value of ~$20/MWh. In Chapter 4, we quantify the cost effectiveness of a renewable portfolio standard and a carbon price from the perspective of consumers in restructured markets. We find that both that the RPS can be more cost effective than a carbon price for consumers under certain circumstances: continued excess supply of capacity, retention of nuclear generators, and high natural gas prices. In Chapter 5, we examine the implications of lowering electricity sector CO2 emissions in PJM through a Low Carbon Capacity Standard (LCCS). We estimate that an LCCS would supply the same amount of energy (105,000 GWh) as the RPS’s in PJM and an additional ~10 GW of capacity. We find that the LCCS could be more cost effective for consumers than an RPS if it lowered capacity prices.