U.S. energy sector impacts of technology innovation, fuel price, and electric sector CO2 policy: Results from the EMF 32 model intercomparison study

Elke L. Hodson, Maxwell Brown, Stuart Cohen, Sharon Showalter, Marshall Wise, Frances Wood, Justin Caron, FELIPE ANDRES FEIJOO PALACIOS, Gokul Iyer, Kathryne Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

We study the impact of fuel prices, technology innovation, and a CO2 emissions reduction policy on both the electric power and end-use sectors by comparing outputs from four U.S. energy-economic models through the year 2050. Achieving innovation goals decreases CO2 emissions in all models, regardless of natural gas price, due to increased energy efficiency and low-carbon generation becoming more cost competitive. For the models that include domestic natural gas markets, achieving innovation goals lowers wholesale electricity prices, but this effect diminishes as projected natural gas prices increase. Higher natural gas prices lead to higher wholesale electricity prices but fewer coal capacity retirements. A CO2 electric power sector emissions cap influences electric sector evolution under reference technology assumptions but has little to no incremental influence when added to innovation goals. Long-term, meeting innovation goals achieves a generation mix with similar CO2 emissions compared to the CO2 policy but with smaller increases to wholesale electricity prices. In the short-term, the relative effect on wholesale prices differs by model. Finally, higher natural gas prices, achieving innovation goals, and the combination of the two, increases the amount of renewable generation that is cost-effective to build and operate while slowing the growth of natural-gas fired generation, which is the predominant generation type in 2050 under reference conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-370
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy Economics
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CO policy
  • Electric power sector
  • Energy modeling forum
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Technology innovation
  • Wholesale electricity prices

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