Consortium for Energy Policy Research at Harvard


> Acting in Time on Energy Policy. This newly published edited volume from Harvard and the Brookings Institution outlines urgent priorities for U.S. energy policy at the dawn of the Obama administration and recommends specific steps that the U.S. government should take.

> The Harvard Business School has announced a new executive education program, the Global Energy Seminar, which will use the case study method to examine how recent developments are impacting the global energy arena.

> A new analysis from the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group puts the economic stimulus bill’s allocations for energy research, development, and demonstration (ERDD) in the context of previous years’ budgets:

Graphic by Charles Jones, with data from Gallagher, Kelly Sims (2008) DOE Budget Authority for Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration  Database, and HR 1 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

> In the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements' official side-event in Poznan, Poland, Professor Robert N. Stavins presented key findings from the project's Interim Report, Designing the Post-Kyoto Climate Regime: Lessons from the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, which synthesizes an extensive research effort conducted by 27 teams of leading experts from developed and developing countries, whose goal is to identify key design principles of a scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic post-2012 international policy architecture.

> Harvard economist Martin Weitzman's new paper "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," analyzes the implications of structural uncertainty for the economics of low-probability high-impact catastrophes. The conclusions of the paper challenge the validity of many recent cost-benefit analyses of climate change, which, the author argues, may not adequately account for the low but not vanishing probability of climate catastrophe.

> Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), in collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, has created a free college curriculum box set that includes all of the materials needed to conduct an energy crisis simulation in a college classroom.  Students play the roles of U.S. Cabinet members developing a policy response to a potentially devastating crisis that affects global oil supplies. Link: Oil Shockwave College Curriculum

> CAFE Standards and Biofuels: A new paper by ETIP Fellow Gustavo Collantes analyzes the potential role that the interplay of Corporate Average Fuel Econome standards and ethanol can play in the context of a national interest in enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, including an overview of factors that affect the price of ethanol. Paper: Biofuels and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program

> Carbon Capture & Storage: What is the optimal scale of CCS systems?  Will big systems be more cost-effective than smaller ones?  A recent paper by ETIP researcher Jeff Bielicke uses the SimCCS cost-minimizing geospatial deployment model to determine the returns to scale for CCS deployment and unravel the determinants thereof.  The paper finds that returns to scale in CCS have a finite limit, ultimately reversing if the system grows too large. Paper: Returns to Scale in Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure and Deployment

> Advanced Coal in China: What, if any, advanced-coal technologies are most cost-effective in China’s current technical and economic circumstances?  In an article in the most recent Energy Policy, ETIP researchers, in collaboration with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, estimate the differences in capital cost and overall cost of electricity for twelve different power plant configurations using advanced goal technologies.  One finding of the paper is that from the point of view of meeting China’s emission requirements, IGCC technology is not the most cost-effective technology available.  The paper concludes that “Incentive policies are needed if IGCC is to be deployed in China.” Link: Technical, Environmental, and Economic Assessment of Deploying Advanced Coal Power Technologies in the Chinese Context

> Energy R&D : A detailed analysis of the President’s FY 09 budget request by researchers Harvard’s Energy Technology Information Policy finds increased funding for nuclear fission and fossil energy, but cuts in funding for renewable energy R&D and energy efficiency.  The authors argue that Congress and the administration are moving in some of the right directions, but that bolder U.S. action on energy RD&D is critical in order to address today’s energy and climate-related challenges. Paper: DOE FY09 Budget Request Commentary