Jonas Monast

Jonas Monast

Director, Climate & 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.

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

Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Limits for Existing Power Plants: Learning from EPA Precedent

Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act will soon require the EPA and state governments to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel–fired power plants. Many stakeholders envision a role for end-use energy efficiency as a flexible compliance strategy under Section 111(d), and though energy efficiency measures have no precedent under the section, there is a long history of Clean Air Act programs that recognize energy efficiency as viable emission reduction strategy. This joint analysis by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy identifies key issues with crediting end-use energy efficiency measures for Section 111(d) compliance—estimating which units experience emission reductions, measuring energy savings, and quantifying reductions in CO2 emissions. The report then explores how the incorporation of energy efficiency into the National Ambient Air Quality Standards program, the NOx SIP Call, and other Clean Air Act programs, can inform federal and state environmental regulators as they evaluate these Section 111(d) issues.

Author (s): Jeremy M. Tarr, Sara Hayes, Jonas Monast

Filters

Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Science

Quality

Climate Change Policy

National

States & Regions

State Policy

Reports

A Triple Bottom Line for Electric Utility Regulation: Aligning State-Level Energy, Environmental, and Consumer Protection Goals

Energy infrastructure across the United States is aging, and plant retirements are increasing due to a combination of newly implemented and impending environmental requirements and inexpensive natural gas. Utilities and regulators will have to decide how to update or replace aging facilities—estimated at a cost of $1.5 to $2 trillion over the next twenty years. This article in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law explores the opportunities and challenges to aligning state energy, environmental, and consumer protection goals within the current regulatory system, and proposes a “triple bottom line” (“TBL”) approach to state utility regulation to achieve this alignment.

Author (s): Jonas J. Monast, Sarah K. Adair

Filters

Climate & Energy

Policy and Design

Science

State Utility Regulation

Quality

Environmental Economics

Energy Sector

States & Regions

State Policy

Journal Articles

Tackling CO2 Emissions from Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

There is a pressing need for technology improvements that make it cost-effective for coal-fired power plants to capture carbon emissions. Carbon capture and storage technologies are particularly important for the fleet of existing coal-fired power plants, as energy projections suggest that these facilities will continue to provide a major portion of the nation's electric power—and the nation’s CO2 emissions—for decades to come. 

This paper, the second in the "Deploying Low-Carbon Coal Technologies Series," not only looks at factors affecting domestic coal-fired generation and provides an overview of CO2 emission projections associated with the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants, but also highlights near-term policy choices. 

Author (s): Brooks Rainey Pearson, Jonas Monast, Jeremy M. Tarr, Jessalee Landfried 

Filters

Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Low Carbon Technologies

Environmental Economics

Energy Sector

National

Working Papers