Public Investments in Energy Technology

Public Investments in Energy Technology

Michael P. Gallaher, Albert N. Link and Alan C. O’Connor

Escalating energy demand may be the most important issue facing the United States and the world today. There is little disagreement that research and development (R & D) is needed to develop new energy technologies for the future; however, there is less agreement over the specific research agenda to be pursued and how that agenda is funded. This book addresses the social importance of new energy technologies, illustrates policy-relevant applications of evaluation techniques and proposes new perspectives for a US energy investment strategy.

Co-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) Model

Michael P. Gallaher, Albert N. Link and Alan C. O’Connor

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, public finance, public sector economics


INTRODUCTION The Co-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) model provides estimates of health effect impacts and the economic value of these impacts resulting from emission changes. The COBRA model was developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be used as a screening tool that enables users to obtain a first-order approximation of benefits due to different air pollution mitigation policies. At the core of the COBRA model is a source-receptor (S-R) matrix that translates changes in emissions to changes in particulate matter (PM) concentrations. The changes in ambient PM concentrations are then linked to changes in mortality risk and changes in health incidents that lead to health care costs and/or lost workdays. CHANGES IN EMISSION → CHANGES IN AMBIENT PM CONCENTRATIONS The user provides changes (decreases) in emissions of pollutants (PM2.5, SO2, NOx) and identifies the economic sector from which the emissions are being reduced. These changes are in total tons of pollutants by sector for the US economy for the chosen year of analysis. The economic sectors chosen determine the underlying spatial distribution of emissions and hence the characteristics of the human population that is affected. For example, emission reduction due to the use of geothermal technology is typically applied to coal plants in electric utilities. Reductions due to the use of wind technology are applied to coal, oil, and natural gas plants in electric utilities. Emissions reductions due to improved efficiency of diesel engines are applied to both highway diesel engines and off-highway nonroad diesel engines. The S-R matrix...

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