Assessing the Role of Renewable Energy Policies in Landfill Gas Energy Projects

Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 14-17

30 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014

See all articles by Shanjun Li

Shanjun Li

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management

Han Kyul Yoo

Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center

Jhih-Shyang Shih

Resources for the Future

Karen L. Palmer

Resources for the Future

Molly K. Macauley

Resources for the Future

Date Written: July 7, 2014

Abstract

Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas and has a global warming potential at least 28 times as high as carbon dioxide. Municipal solid waste landfills are reported to be the third-largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States, responsible for 18 percent of emissions in 2011. Capturing landfill gas for use as an energy source for electricity or heat produces alternative energy as well as environmental benefits. A host of federal and state policies encourage the development of landfill-gas-to-energy projects. Our research provides the first systematic economic assessment of the role these policies play in adoption decisions. Results suggest that renewable portfolio standards and investment tax credits have contributed to the development of these projects, accounting for 13 of 277 projects during our data period from 1991 to 2010. These policy-induced projects have led to 12.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a net benefit of $52.59 million.

Keywords: renewable energy, landfill methane, renewable portfolio standards, investment tax credit

JEL Classification: Q48, Q53

Suggested Citation

Li, Shanjun and Yoo, Han Kyul and Shih, Jhih-Shyang and Palmer, Karen and Macauley, Molly K., Assessing the Role of Renewable Energy Policies in Landfill Gas Energy Projects (July 7, 2014). Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 14-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2518609 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2518609

Shanjun Li

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

248 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Han Kyul Yoo

Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jhih-Shyang Shih (Contact Author)

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-328-5028 (Phone)

Karen Palmer

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Molly K. Macauley

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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