Environmental Economics Program News

Expert Available for Comment on Clean Power Plan Hearing

On Sept. 27, a rare “en banc” review of the Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, will take place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Compliance with Clean Power Plan is Within Reach — Even for States Opposing It

In a blog post, the Environmental Defense Fund writes about their analysis that concludes Clean Power Plan targets are eminently reasonable, noting that their results are consistent with recent, independent economic analyses by the Nicholas Institute, M.J. Bradley & Associates, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. All of these analyses, EDF says, predict low compliance costs because favorable economics for lower and zero-carbon sources of electricity are expected to continue driving sustained investment in these resources even in the absence of the Clean Power Plan. As a result, states around the country are well positioned for compliance.

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Market Forces Not Enough to Cut Energy Emissions: Report ($)

Market forces are making it cheaper to produce cleaner energy, but U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan is still necessary to drive an overall reduction in power-sector carbon emissions, according to an analysis released today. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions' policy report compared five recently released studies, including one from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, analyzing projected effects of the Obama administration's signature climate rule.

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Models Tell us Clean Power Plan will cut Emissions at a Low Cost

The Clean Power Plan will drive down power sector emissions at little to no cost to consumers, according to a Center for Climate and Energy Solutions analysis of recent modeling studies. C2ES examined five recent economic modeling studies, including one by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, that project the likely impacts of the Clean Power Plan on carbon emissions, the U.S. power mix, and electricity prices.

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What's Driving Down Industry Emissions? The Market ($)

Market forces, not U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, are the chief driver behind lower carbon emissions right now, energy experts said at a conference on power-sector trends. Low natural gas prices, federal tax breaks for renewables, and the falling cost of wind and solar are behind the electric utility industry's transition away from fossil fuels, which is doing more to cut into greenhouse gas emissions. Such changes do not render the Obama administration's signature climate rule unnecessary, officials pointed out. And states are going to have to think beyond 2030 — the rule's compliance date — if they want to make any meaningful impact against climate change, others said at an all-day event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Great Plains Institute and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

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With 2 Weeks to Oral Arguments, EPA Rule Events Begin Anew ($)

Clean Power Plan events are picking up this week as energy insiders look ahead to oral arguments in two weeks on the legal challenges to the rule. Before lawyers face off before an en banc hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Sept. 27, a number of groups are reviewing power-sector data and holding backgrounders on the court battles. In Atlanta tomorrow, three of the main organizations that have been spearheading multistate talks on the regulation will hold a workshop to review electric-sector trends in the Eastern Interconnection. The Great Plains Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting the event. More than 200 people are expected to attend, including officials and regulators from a range of states, as well as industry representatives and nongovernmental organizations, said Michael Dowd, the air chief for Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality who will speak on an afternoon panel.

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Ex-EPA Chiefs Stress Need for Nuclear Power ($)

Without nuclear power, the U.S. and other countries can pretty much forget about meeting any of their short- and medium-term goals for cutting down on greenhouse-gas emissions, two former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said at an event co-sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Sanford School of Public Policy. More broadly, “we understand, all of us, intuitively, that a mix of energy [sources] is the best way to go forward, an all-of-the-above strategy,” said Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA’s boss from 2001 to 2003 and a former New Jersey governor. “There’s no one form that’s going to solve all our problems.” 

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Former EPA administrator Advocates Role of Nuclear Energy in Reducing Carbon Emissions

The Duke Chronicle reports that Christine Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and Environmental Protection Agency administrator when President George W. Bush was in office, discussed the importance of nuclear energy at the Sanford School of Public Policy Wednesday. Co-sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the discussion was moderated by William Reilly—a former EPA administrator and chair of the Nicholas Institute Board of Advisors. Whitman and Reilly suggested that nuclear energy is critical to a renewable energy plan that aims to reduce carbon emissions.

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Students and Faculty Question Proposal for Duke Energy Facility on Campus

After the University announced in May a proposal from Duke Energy to build a new natural gas facility on campus, some students and faculty members have raised concerns about the proposed plant’s impact and a lack of transparency surrounding the initial stages of the facility's planning. This article in The Chronicle ​quotes Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions director Tim Profeta.

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Former EPA Leaders to Discuss the Complex Role of Nuclear Energy

Former Environmental Protection Agency administrators Christine Todd Whitman and William Reilly will speak on how the nation should balance the complexities of nuclear power as plentiful, safe and clean energy on Wednesday, Sept. 7. The conversation at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy will examine nuclear energy’s role in a clean and safe energy future. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the school’s Fleishman Commons from 5-6 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. 

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