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Marching to the beat of an absent drummer: Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reduction in the U.S. Power Sector

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posted on 14.07.2022, 20:13 authored by Jeffrey AndersonJeffrey Anderson

As the call to limit the impact of climate change via decarbonization proliferates through global economies, the demand for power sector low- and zero-carbon generation intensifies. In the United States, there has been much debate on the merits and faults of increasing variable renewable energy, natural gas, and nuclear capacity; and because the depth to which all are willing to decarbonize is contested, direction from an overarching national policy is lacking. The absence of a formulaic policy offers the opportunity to explore fossil-fuel fleet reduction opportunities that do not advocate the wholesale replacement of the fleet with a zero-carbon technology, and allows for flexibility and the utilization of existing incentives to nudge the carbon-emitting fleet to emissions reduction. In this dissertation, I examine the role competing mitigation technologies under these conditions can play in decarbonizing the fossil-fuel fleet. To do so, I develop a tool for least-cost emission reductions, use this tool to quantify uncertainty and determine regret in the complex mitigation decision, and analyze the impact that the U.S. tax code has on this choice.




Degree Type



Engineering and Public Policy

Degree Name

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Paul Fischbeck Haibo Zhai