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Relative Effectiveness of Energy Efficiency Programs versus Market Based Climate Policies in the Chemical Industry

This paper addresses the relative effectiveness of market vs program based climate policies. We compute the carbon price resulting in an equivalent reduction in energy from programs that eliminate the efficiency gap. A reduced-form stochastic frontier energy demand analysis of plant level electricity and fuel data, from energy-intensive chemical sectors, jointly estimates the distribution of energy efficiency and underlying price elasticities. The analysis obtains a decomposition of efficiency into persistent (PE) and time-varying (TVE) components. Total inefficiency is relatively small in most sectors and price elasticities are relatively high. If all plants performed at the 90th percentile of their efficiency distribution, the reduction in energy is between 4% and 37%. A carbon price averaging around $31.51/ton CO2 would achieve reductions in energy use equivalent to all manufacturing plants making improvements to close the efficiency gap.

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Keywords: Energy efficiency, Price elasticities, Manufacturing, Stochastic frontier, Plant-level data

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.3.gboy

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Published in Volume 41, Number 3 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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