Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions - April 6, 2015

Upcoming Events

April 7

Durham, NC

Jim Rogers: Energy Access 


April 10

Durham, NC
Corridors of Power: The Politics of U.S. Environmental Aid to Madagascar  


April 15
Durham, NC

Spurring the Shift to Smart Growth 


April 24

Durham, NC
ICLEI-Cities for Sustainability  


April 28-30

Los Angeles, California

Navigating the American Carbon World


May 27-28

Durham, NC

Inequality and the Economic Analysis of Climate Change Schedule 


For information on other upcoming events, visit the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions website


Featured Multimedia
Webinar: Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook
Webinar: Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook
In the News

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Our Impact: Using Modeling to Help States to Assess Clean Power Plan Options

Since June 2014, electric utilities have been weighing how to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) while hedging risks in a power market undergoing a sea change due to rapidly shifting fuel economies. The stakes are high--decisions can affect consumers' power costs and efficacy of emissions reductions efforts. And the choices entailed by the prospective regulation are both many and complex. In the fourth installment of our 12-part series highlighting the environmental policy impacts of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions over its first decade, we describe how our Dynamic Integrated Economy/ Energy/Emissions Model is helping states sort through CPP compliance options. 

Common Elements Approach to EPA Rules

A new Nicholas Institute policy brief lays out a way around hurdles to using a market-based approach to comply with the EPA's Clean Power Plan as long as states share two common elements: credits defined the same way and mechanisms to protect against double counting. The "common elements" approach allows cross-state credit transfers without requiring states to negotiate a formal regional trading scheme, leaves compliance choices to power companies, builds on existing state and federal trading programs, and maintains the traditional roles of state energy and environmental regulators.

Benefits of RPS with Biomass Targets 

A new Nicholas Institute policy brief suggests that a region-wide renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with separate biomass targets could lead to substantial greenhouse gas reductions. The study of the hypothetical RPS in the southeastern United States could inform a broad array of policies to increase biomass demand from that region.  

Guidelines for Valuing Nature's Benefits

Payments for ecosystem services leverage economic and social incentives to shape how people influence natural processes and achieve conservation and sustainability goals. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander, along with other scientists and practitioners, propose a set of guidelines and principles to value the benefits and services that nature provides in a new Science article.

Watch: Modeling the Clean Power Plan

Senior research economist Martin Ross explains the Nicholas Institute's Clean Power Plan modeling project in a new video. Ross presents findings related to tradeoffs between rate-based and mass-based compliance plans; impacts of state-by-state versus regional compliance approaches; and the consequences of policy choices for generation options, operating costs, capital investments, fuel use, renewable energy, and other factors.

Navigating the American Carbon World

The Nicholas Institute will present the program for the 2015 Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) conference in Los Angeles, April 28-30, in partnership with NACW organizer Climate Action Reserve. In its thirteenth consecutive year, NACW will examine the status and future growth of California's historic cap-and-trade program and other established and emerging carbon markets, activity stemming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan, and other innovative climate initiatives.

Emerging Bioenergy Market Participation

A review of the bioenergy market participation literature by the Nicholas Institute's Christopher Galik in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews increases appreciation of how bioenergy market participation has been assessed and suggests how social network analysis may be further employed as a tool for literature review.

Study: Pollution Reduction at Dairies

A new Nicholas Institute paper addresses a problem arising when a single operation combines multiple credit payments from adoption of an emissions reduction technology--a practice that may produce no incremental pollution reductions or even allow the credit buyer to create more pollution than the technology offsets. A possible solution, say the authors, may be to allow "stacking" of all credits available at the time the technology is installed, but to prohibit further stacking if new credit streams become available afterward.

Power Trip: Piedmont Biofuels

Our last Power Trip of the semester, co-sponsored by the Duke University Energy Initiative, took students on a tour of Piedmont Biofuels' production facility.

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps decision makers create timely, effective, and economically practical solutions to the world's critical environmental challenges.

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University,
 P.O. Box 90335, Durham, NC 27708.