Jonas Monast

Jonas Monast

Director, Climate and Energy Program

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Areas of Expertise: climate change, carbon markets, offsets, air quality, public utility commissions

Jonas Monast directs the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Jonas’s work focuses on the interaction of state and federal energy policies, regulatory options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the intersection of financial markets and climate policy. He directed Duke University’s Climate Change Policy Partnership from 2007-2010 and coordinated the Nicholas Institute’s Carbon Market Initiative.

Jonas also teaches courses on the intersection of energy and environmental issues at Duke University’s School of Law and Nicholas School of the Environment.Prior to joining Duke, Jonas worked as an attorney in the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice at Foley Hoag LLP, where he advised clients on emerging legal and reputational risks regarding human rights and the environment. Jonas also served as a congressional fellow for the late Senator Paul Wellstone and as legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University and his B.A. from Appalachian State University.

Designing CO2 Performance Standards for a Transitioning Electricity Sector: A Multi-Benefits Framework

A significant transition is under way within the electricity sector due to several market forces, retirement of certain plants, and regulatory pressure. There is notable overlap between available strategies for mitigating electricity sector risks and potential compliance strategies for states under the Clean Power Plan. This overlap presents regulators with an opportunity to pursue strategies that help manage the transition occurring in the electricity sector and achieve greenhouse gas reductions required under the Clean Power Plan, particularly in the areas of end-use energy efficiency and additional renewable power generation.

Authors: Jonas Monast and David Hoppock

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Journal Articles

Completing the Energy Innovation Cycle: The View from the Public Utility Commission

Achieving a widespread adoption of innovative electricity generation technologies involves a complex system of research, development, demonstration, and deployment, with each phase then informing future developments. Despite a number of non-regulatory programs at the federal level to support this process, the innovation premium—the increased cost and technology risk often associated with innovative generation technologies—creates hurdles in the state public utility commission (PUC) process. This article in the Hastings Law Journal examines how and why innovative energy technologies face challenges in the PUC process, focusing on case studies where PUCs have approved or denied utility proposals to deploy high cost, first-generation energy technologies. It concludes with an outline of possible strategies to address PUC concerns by allocating the innovation premium beyond a single utility's ratepayers.

Author(s): Jonas Monast and Sarah Adair 

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Climate & Energy

Policy and Design

State Utility Regulation

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

States & Regions

State Policy

Journal Articles

Beyond Carbon Dioxide: Capturing Air Quality Benefits with State 111(d) Plans

With finalization of the EPA’s section 111(d) guidelines, states will make decisions about how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These decisions could fundamentally affect the U.S. power sector and will be made in an environment of uncertainty about the timing, stringency, and compliance costs of future air quality regulations. In light of this uncertainty, states may wish to look beyond carbon dioxide when developing section 111(d) plans. The Clean Air Act allows them the flexibility to reduce carbon emissions in a way that hedges the risk of anticipated air regulations and that potentially lowers long-term compliance costs. This paper discusses these benefits, summarizes air quality regulations that could affect the power sector in the future, and describes how states can use the flexibility afforded them by section 111(d) to manage this regulatory risk. In addition, it identifies elements of state 111(d) plans that may lead to reductions in criteria pollutants.

Author(s): Jeremy Tarr and Jonas Monast

Filters

Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

State Utility Regulation

Working Papers

New Source Review and Coal Plant Efficiency Gains: How New and Forthcoming Air Regulations Affect Outcomes

Forthcoming carbon dioxide regulations for existing power plants in the United States have heightened interest in thermal efficiency gains for coal-fired power plants. Plant modifications to improve thermal efficiency can trigger New Source Review (NSR), a Clean Air Act requirement to adopt state-of-the-art pollution controls. This article in the journal Energy Policy explores whether existing coal plants would likely face additional pollution control requirements if they undertake modifications that trigger NSR. Despite emissions controls that are or will be installed under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Clean Air Interstate Rule or its replacement, 80% of coal units (76% of capacity) that are expected to remain in operation are not projected to meet the minimum NSR requirements for at least one pollutant: nitrogen oxides or sulfur dioxide. This is an important consideration for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state policymakers as they determine the extent to which carbon dioxide regulation will rely on unit-by-unit thermal efficiency gains versus potential flexible compliance strategies such as averaging, trading, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. NSR would likely delay and add cost to thermal efficiency projects at a majority of coal units, including projects undertaken to comply with forthcoming carbon dioxide regulation.

Author(s): Sarah Adair, David Hoppock, and Jonas Monast

Filters

Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

State Utility Regulation

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

National

State Policy

Journal Articles