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The permutation destroys efficiency incentives

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The permutation destroys efficiency incentives

Borenstein, 12 - Severin Borenstein is E. T. Grether Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, California. He is a Co-Director of the Energy Institute at Haas, and Director of the University of California Energy Institute (“The Private and Public Economics of Renewable Electricity Generation” Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 26, Number 1—Winter 2012—Pages 67–92 http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.26.1.67)
First, subsidizing green power for reducing pollution (relative to some counterfactual) is not equivalent to taxing “brown” power to reflect the marginal social damage. If end-use electricity demand were completely inelastic and green and brown power were each completely homogeneous, they would have the same effect; the only effect of the subsidy would be to shift the production share towards green and away from brown power. But the underlying market failure is the underpricing of brown power, not the overpricing of green power, so subsidizing green power from government revenues artificially depresses the price of power and discourages efficient energy consumption.7 As a result, government subsidies of green power lead to overconsumption of electricity and disincentives for energy efficiency. In addition, for any given level of reduction, it will be achieved more efficiently by equalizing the marginal price of the pollutant across sectors as well as within sectors. This is not achievable through ad hoc subsidies to activities that displace certain sources of emissions. Fowlie, Knittel, and Wolfram (forthcoming) estimate that failure to achieve uniform marginal prices in the emissions of nitrogen oxides in the United States has raised the cost of regulation by at least 6 percent.

That’s key to the entire success of the CP

Roberts, 12 – staff writer for Grist (David, Grist, “Obama can tackle climate in his second term, and he doesn’t need Congress to do it” 12/4, http://grist.org/climate-energy/obama-can-tackle-carbon-and-doesnt-need-congress/)
The fact that energy efficiency counts as compliance is crucial to the economics of NRDC’s proposal. If avoided carbon counts toward reducing average fleet emissions, then every utility, in every state and region, has access to inexpensive compliance measures. Efficiency is ubiquitous and in almost every case cheaper than new power sources. This is something utilities are already catching on to, as evidenced by the surge in efficiency investments over the last few years:

Remember: Efficiency saves ratepayers money. According to modeling of the NRDC proposal done by ICF International, by complying through efficiency measures, utilities could achieve the proposed carbon standards while slightly reducing power bills. And every dollar not spent on power is a dollar of annual economic stimulus.

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