Learning by Doing and Spillovers in Renewable Generation: Evidence from U.S. Wind and Solar Farms (Job Market Paper)
Abstract: Learning by doing is often cited as a rationale for subsidizing renewable electricity, but there is relatively little project-level evidence on how knowledge is accrued. Using detailed atmospheric data to account for potential output, we study whether generation and installation experience lead to increased productivity for solar and wind projects. We further assess the appropriability of experience by considering the transfer of knowledge within and across firms. Generation experience on a particular project leads to higher productivity at that project but not at other sites. Installation experience leads to higher output on subsequent projects, and exhibits spillovers across owners with proximate installation sites for wind farms. This is consistent with other work suggesting that renewable project developers benefit from accrued knowledge.
Research in Progress
The Impact of Renewable Energy on Electricity Markets: Evidence From State Renewable Portfolio Standards
Abstract: Renewable Portfolio Standards are one of the largest policies promoting clean energy in the US. Despite their prevalence and scope, the cost-effectiveness of these policies is currently poorly understood. Using panel data on program characteristics, electricity prices, generation, and employment, we examine the impact of these policies. Portfolio standards have been successful at increasing regional renewable generation, with marginal compliance coming almost entirely from wind energy. However, costs to consumers are large, with retail electricity rates increasing by 9-15% five years after adoption. Based on our estimates, the cost of carbon abatement from these programs is substantial, and well above conventional estimates of the social cost.