North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act: untangling a tangled relationship

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Justin J. Larson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stephen Holland

Abstract: This dissertation analyzes North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act (CSA). By targeting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions at fourteen coal-fired powerplants owned by Duke Energy and Progress Energy, the CSA implements utility level caps in two phases and allows for trading of emissions within each utility. In my analysis I employ emissions data from the Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) and powerplant characteristics from the Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID). Difference-in-differences and the synthetic control method are used in concert with a nationally representative control group to analyze effectiveness, leakage, and the distribution of damages in the CSA. I estimate that the CSA reduced annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by approximately 100,000 tons and emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 50,000 tons. This result is a smaller estimated effect of the policy than prior studies have shown. Additionally, I provide evidence that the reductions are not due to utilities shifting production and are due to the installation of abatement technology. Estimating avoided damages from 2003 to 2014, the CSA results in estimated benefits of $1.88 billion (2014$). [This abstract has been edited to remove characters that will not display in this system. Please see the PDF for the full abstract.]

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Air Pollution, Cap and Trade, Emissions Leakage, Environmental Policy, Synthetic Control Method, Treatment Effect
Coal-fired power plants $x Environmental aspects $x Law and legislation $z North Carolina
Air $x Pollution $x Law and legislation $z North Carolina
Emissions trading $x Law and legislation $z North Carolina
Environmental policy $z North Carolina $x Cost effectiveness
Environmental law $x Compliance costs $z North Carolina

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