Causal Emissions Factor Benchmarks Using Nuclear Outages

12 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2024

See all articles by Pierre Christian

Pierre Christian

WattTime

Joel Cofield

WattTime

Sam Koebrich

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Gavin McCormick

WattTime

Date Written: March 5, 2024

Abstract

One method to decrease carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity sector is to shift the timing of electric load from periods when it causes more pollution to times when it causes less. A key step in implementing this strategy involves measuring changes of emission as a consequence of changes in electricity load, which we define as the consequential emission factor (CEF). Multiple modeling algorithms have previously estimated the CEF. But previous methods have been forced to either calibrate against dispatch modeling assumptions rather than direct empirical evidence, or against statistical models that might not be free of causal confounders. In this work, we demonstrate a technique to estimate the CEF using direct empirical evidence. We do so by leveraging a causally valid natural experiment involving unplanned nuclear power plant outages. The CEFs obtained in this paper can serve as a baseline with which to help evaluate the performance of the EF measuring models.

Keywords: emission, power system, energy, electricity emission, causal inference, load shifting

JEL Classification: Q50,Q54,Q56

Suggested Citation

Christian, Pierre and Cofield, Joel and Koebrich, Sam and McCormick, Gavin, Causal Emissions Factor Benchmarks Using Nuclear Outages (March 5, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4748952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4748952

Pierre Christian (Contact Author)

WattTime ( email )

Oakland, CA

Joel Cofield

WattTime ( email )

Oakland, CA

Sam Koebrich

National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( email )

1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401-3393
United States

Gavin McCormick

WattTime ( email )

Oakland, CA

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