The Guy at the Controls: Labor Quality and Power Plant Efficiency

31 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2007 Last revised: 11 Nov 2013

See all articles by James B. Bushnell

James B. Bushnell

Iowa State University

James Bushnell

University of California - Energy Institute; University of California, Berkeley - Department of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (IEOR)

Catherine D. Wolfram

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of individual human operators on the fuel efficiency of power plants. Although electricity generation is a fuel and capital intensive enterprise, anecdotal evidence, interviews, and empirical analysis support the hypothesis that labor, particularly power plant operators, can have a non-trivial impact on the operating efficiency of the plant. We present evidence to demonstrate these effects and survey the policies and practices of electricity producing firms that either reduce or exacerbate fuel efficiency differences across individual plant operators.

Suggested Citation

Bushnell, James B. and Bushnell, James B. and Wolfram, Catherine D., The Guy at the Controls: Labor Quality and Power Plant Efficiency (July 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13215. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=998000

James B. Bushnell (Contact Author)

Iowa State University ( email )

James B. Bushnell

University of California - Energy Institute ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (IEOR)

IEOR Department
4135 Etcheverry Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Catherine D. Wolfram (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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