The universal theme of deregulation of the electricity industry is the dismantling of the exclusive franchise, opening up some segments of the industry to competition. Technological changes in generation have helped eliminate the perception that generation is a natural monopoly, but this change has not occurred in transmission and distribution services. Marketing functions have also been opened up to competition in many places. This paper includes a brief overview of the different approaches to restructuring that have been adopted in selected countries around the world. It also surveys the existing literature that explores various aspects of how electricity restructuring is likely to affect the environment.The effect of restructuring on the environment consists of four constituent influences: (1) changes in electricity demand and how it substitutes for (and complements) the consumption of other products, (2) the substitution among fuels and other inputs in electricity production, (3) efficiency improvements that stem from the introduction of competition, and (4) the interaction of firm behavior and market structure with existing and new incentive-based approaches to environmental regulation. Notwithstanding the possibility that electricity consumption displaces the use of other fuels in end uses, most studies find some negative environmental effect from increased consumption, especially with respect to carbon emissions. However, the efficiency gains that can be expected in delivering electricity services create the opportunity for additional environmental controls. Regulatory reform has arrived in the electricity sector, and it is expected to offer welfare gains that can be shared between economic and environmental objectives.
RFF Live — Apr 28, 2021
An Equitable Energy Transition for Workers and Communities
A conversation that will explore a recently published report and what future policy is needed to support fossil fuel workers and communities in the shift to a low-carbon economy
Workshop/Seminar — Apr 15, 2021
US Climate Ambition in 2030: Insights from Recent Modeling
A virtual meeting on what’s needed to put the United States on a path to net-zero emissions by midcentury
Resources Radio — Apr 6, 2021
Giving a Fair Shot to Energy Workers and Communities in Transition, with Wesley Look and Daniel Raimi
Wesley Look and Daniel Raimi review a series of reports about policies and programs that can ensure an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.