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Peak Efficiency

How Regulating Electricity Demand Could Save Lives in New York City

This policy brief discusses an on-going inter-disciplinary study to measure whether laws that reshape local electricity demand can achieve significant health benefits in New York City. A collaborative effort of legal, economic, and public health researchers, the study will answer three crucial questions that should inform New York’s energy planning decisions:

-Which state and local regulations on energy efficiency, conservation, and renewables can reduce or shift electricity demand in New York City away from peak hours of energy consumption, or significantly lower overall consumption?

-How will the local electricity market’s price signals and local New York City power plants respond to that changing demand?

-Will plant-specific responses at pollution-intensive electricity generators have any distinguishable health impacts for local populations?

Fine particulate matter is a dangerous air pollutant—New York City estimates that exposure may be responsible for 8,000 hospital visits and 3,000 deaths each year. No previous study has quantitatively calculated the direct health effects for individuals in close proximity to urban electricity-generating units.