Health co-benefits of sub-national renewable energy policy in the US
Author(s)Dimanchev, Emil G; Paltsev, Sergey; Yuan, Mei; Rothenberg, Daniel Alexander; Tessum, Christopher W; Marshall, Julian D; Selin, Noelle E; ... Show more Show less
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State and local policy-makers in the US have shown interest in transitioning electricity systems toward renewable energy sources and in mitigating harmful air pollution. However, the extent to which subnational renewable energy policies can improve air quality remains unclear. To investigate this issue, we develop a systemic modeling framework that combines economic and air pollution models to assess the projected sub-national impacts of Renewable Portfolio Standards(RPSs) on air quality and human health, as well as on the economy and on climate change. We contribute to existing RPS costbenefit literature by providing a comprehensive assessment of economic costs and estimating economy-wide changes in emissions and their impacts, using a general equilibrium modeling approach. This study is also the first to our knowledge to directly compare the health co-benefits of RPSs to those of carbon pricing. We estimate that existing RPSs in the ‘Rust Belt’region generate a health co-benefit of $94 per ton CO[subscript 2] reduced ($2-477/tCO[subscript 2])in 2030, or 8¢ for each kWh of renewable energy deployed (0.2–40¢ kWh[superscript -1])in 2015 dollars. Our central estimate is 34% larger than total policy costs. We estimate that the central marginal benefit of raising renewable energy requirements exceeds the marginal cost, suggesting that strengthening RPSs increases net societal benefits. We also calculate that carbon pricing delivers health co-benefits of $211/tCO[subscript 2] in 2030, 63% greater than the health cobenefit of reducing the same amount of CO[subscript 2] through an RPS approach.
DepartmentMIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change
Environmental Research Letters
Dimanchev, Emil G. et al. "Health co-benefits of sub-national renewable energy policy in the US." Environmental Research Letters 14, 8 (August 2019): 085012 © 2019 The Author(s).
Final published version
Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, General Environmental Science