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Wind Power Development in the United States – An Empirical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of State Renewable Energy PoliciesEPA Grant Number: FP917169
Title: Wind Power Development in the United States – An Empirical Evaluation of the Effectiveness of State Renewable Energy Policies
Investigators: Hitaj, Claudia Maria
Institution: University of Maryland
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Science & Technology for Sustainability: Energy
One of the most promising renewable energy sources in the United States is wind. In 2008, wind power contributed 42 percent of all new generating capacity. Most states have a combination of policies in place to promote renewable energy, but state variability on the level, duration, and combination of policies is extensive. There is a lack of consensus at a policy level about which instrument is most effective at promoting wind power. This research project will quantify the effects of different policy instruments and access to the electricity grid on wind power development. The project will analyze the cost-effectiveness of each policy instrument and identify current constraints to wind power development.
In the face of imminent climate change, developing low-carbon fuel sources is of great importance. One of the most promising renewable energy sources is wind. Most states offer a combination of policies to promote renewable energy, but state variability on the level and duration of policies is extensive. This project estimates the effects of each policy instrument and access to the electricity grid on wind power development. It also predicts wind power growth under a national carbon price.
This project estimates the separate effect of each state-level renewable energy policy instrument on installed wind power capacity and explicitly accounts for windiness, access to the electricity grid, and grid deregulation status. The project uses county-level data from 1990 to 2007 and controls for local population and economic characteristics. The estimated model can be used to predict annual growth in wind power capacity across counties under a national carbon price.
The econometric analysis will shed light on which type of renewable energy policy incentive is most effective at promoting wind power. It will also determine the extent to which access to the electricity grid constrains wind power development. Investigating the counterfactual scenario of a national carbon price can identify regions in the United States that can expect large growth in wind power as a result of a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.
Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection
By identifying the most cost-effective renewable energy policy instrument, this research would contribute to reducing the cost of climate change mitigation. Cost-effective policies are an important means to achieving the dual goal of economic prosperity and protection of the environment and human health through climate change mitigation.