The Perverse Impact of Calling for Energy Conservation
In periods of high energy demand, utilities frequently issue "emergency" appeals for conservation over peak hours to reduce brownout risk. We estimate the impact of such appeals using high-frequency data on actual and forecasted electricity generation, pollutant emission measures, and real-time prices. Our results suggest a perverse impact; while there is no significant reduction in grid stress over superpeak hours, such calls lead to increased off-peak generation, CO2 emissions, and price volatility. We postulate that consumer attempts at load shifting lead to this result.
Thanks to seminar participants at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and the University of Colorado Environmental and Resource Workshop. Holladay and Price gratefully acknowledge financial assistance from the Howard B. Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Holladay, J. Scott & Price, Michael K. & Wanamaker, Marianne, 2015. "The perverse impact of calling for energy conservation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-18. citation courtesy of