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Publications

The Institute for Policy Integrity produces three types of publications: policy briefs, reports, and academic articles/working papers. Our policy briefs provide incisive and focused analysis on timely policy topics. Our reports develop deeper research on our core issues. Our academic articles and working papers offer original scholarly research and analysis from established experts as well as fresh new voices.

Latest Publications

  • Look Before You Lease
    Report

    Look Before You Lease

    Reducing Fossil Fuel Dominance on Public Lands by Accounting for Option Value

    By Jayni Hein, Joy Kim, and Sam Smith
    January 7, 2020

    While the Trump administration’s goal of “energy dominance” has increased the public lands available for oil and gas development, no effort has been made to modernize the leasing system, even in the face of climate change. Our report explains how option value—which accounts for the informational value gained by delaying leasing decisions—can and should be factored into the Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning processes. Accounting for option value at multiple stages of the land use planning process would significantly improve BLM’s public lands stewardship, better protect the environment, and regain some of the economic and strategic advantages it has ceded to private developers. The report also describes case studies where BLM’s failure to consider option value has led to costly litigation and missed opportunities.

  • Assessing the Rationale for the EPA’s Proposed Regulatory Science Rule
    Policy Brief

    Assessing the Rationale for the EPA’s Proposed Regulatory Science Rule

    By Madison E. Condon, Michael A. Livermore, Jeffrey G. Shrader
    December 19, 2019

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a new policy that would prohibit the agency from issuing regulations that rely on studies whose underlying data are not publicly available. While the EPA claims it is pursuing this policy in the interest of transparency, we argue that such a prohibition would greatly hinder, rather than help, the rulemaking process and would likely result in undesirable regulatory outcomes that fail to maximize economic welfare.

  • (Not So) Clean Peak Energy Standards
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    (Not So) Clean Peak Energy Standards

    By Jeffrey Shrader, Christy Lewis, Gavin McCormick, Isabelle Rabideau, and Burcin Unel
    December 10, 2019

    Growth in electricity storage has the potential to increase emissions from power generation. Concerns about this outcome are currently prompting many policies to address the issue. We study a particularly popular policy proposal called the “Clean Peak Standard” that incentivizes storage to discharge during periods of high electricity demand. The stated goal of the policy is to shift storage discharge to offset production from generators with high pollution emissions. We show that the policy is largely ineffective at achieving this emissions reduction goal. The policy reinforces existing incentives faced by storage operators, so it does not have a strong effect on discharging behavior. It is also unable to capture high-frequency changes in marginal operating emissions rates. Alternative policies, such as a carbon tax, are more effective at reducing the emissions increase caused by storage. Policymakers considering Clean Peak-style policies should instead consider these alternative policies.

  • Getting the Value of Distributed Energy Resources Right
    Report

    Getting the Value of Distributed Energy Resources Right

    Using a Societal Value Stack

    By Justin Gundlach and Burcin Unel, Ph.D.
    December 3, 2019

    Our report notes the growing presence of distributed energy resources, like solar panels and energy storage installations, and explains how they should be compensated for providing electricity services valued by utilities and their customers. Currently, 40 states use net energy metering programs to compensate DERs. We describe a promising alternative, “value stacking,” which better reflects DERs’ value, and provide suggestions for how to implement this approach.

  • Electricity Simulations on the Distribution Edge
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Electricity Simulations on the Distribution Edge

    Developing a Granular Representation of End-User Electric Load Preferences using Smart Meter Data

    By Ashwini Bharatkumar, Ricardo Esparza, Kristina Mohlin, Elisheba Spiller, Karen Tapia-Ahumada, and Burcin Unel
    June 1, 2019

    The electric distribution grid is transitioning toward a model in which customers can themselves provide a variety of services to the grid by investing in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as distributed solar generation, programmable appliances, and energy storage. However, customers’ incentives to make these investments depend on how they are being charged for electric service. Despite the topic’s importance for the electric distribution system of the future, the body of literature on the impact of electric rate design on the proliferation of DERs is still limited. Our research improves upon common assumptions of fixed electric demand by incorporating microeconomic theory into an existing engineering simulation model.