The Institute for Policy Integrity produces three types of publications: policy briefs, reports, and working papers. Geared to an audience of political decisionmakers, our policy briefs provide incisive and focused analysis on timely policy topics. Our report series develops deeper research and examination of our core issues. Our working papers give an opportunity for extensive and original scholarly research and analysis from established experts as well as fresh new voices.
The topic of this paper is the assumed growth of solar photovoltaic (PV) in current energy models, with a focus on information from Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA resolves the difficulty of modeling solar energy into the future by assuming its current growth will not continue. However, EIA’s assumptions on the future costs of solar PV are highly pessimistic, and its methodology would appear to bias its “Reference Case” projections toward lower growth of solar energy. Sure enough, past AEOs have systematically underestimated the future growth of solar PV. Energy modelers therefore may need to adjust the AEO forecast in order to reflect a most likely baseline trajectory for solar PV.
The social cost of carbon is an estimate of the economic damage done by each ton of carbon dioxide spewed into the air. Howard examines the Integrated Assessment Models used to produce the social cost of carbon estimate and gives a comprehensive review of what each model accounts for and what each model misses.