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Dr. J. Scott Holladay & Dr. Charles Sims, University of Tennessee, give the Power and Energy Seminar on Sept. 6 

Dr. J. Scott Holladay, University of Tennessee, and Dr. Charles Sims, University of Tennessee, will present the CURENT Power and Energy Seminar on Fri., Sept. 6. The seminar will be held from 12:20 pm to 1:10 pm in MHK 404.  

Presenters: Dr. J. Scott Holladay, University of Tennessee, and Dr. Charles Sims, University of Tennessee

Time: Friday, September 6th, 12:20 PM - 1:10 PM EST

Location: Min H. Kao Building, Room 404

This seminar will be available through ZOOM.  See info near bottom of this email.

See the CURENT calendar for more news and seminars.


Presenter 1: Dr. J. Scott Holladay, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee

The Barking Smog? Power Plants, Air Quality and Student Cognition

There is growing awareness of the effects of air pollution on children's education outcomes. While researchers have long been aware of the relationship between in-utero exposure to air pollution and cognitive performance, more recently evidence has emerged suggesting that student performance on high stakes tests could also be affected by their exposure to air pollution.

In this paper we take advantage of changes in generation at electric power plants to identify a causal relationship between air pollution and scores on year-end exams for students in North Carolina public schools. The results suggest that long-run exposure to pollution has a small, but significant effect on annual test scores. We find little evidence of short-run effects in reductions in air pollution among those exposed to high levels of pollution over longer terms.

Bio: J. Scott Holladay is an associate professor of Economics at the University of Tennessee and a Fellow at the Howard B. Baker Center for Public Policy. His research interests include environmental, energy and international economics.

Before arriving at UT in 2010, Holladay served as a post-doctoral fellow at New York University School of Law's Institute for Policy Integrity. He earned an M.A and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado, and a B.A. in economics and a B.S. in computer science from Furman University. He has published his research in high-ranked field journals such as Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (2x), Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and Energy Journal.

Presenter 2:
Dr. Charles Sims, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Tennessee

Title: Drivers of Coal Generator Retirements and their Impact on the Shifting Electricity Generation Portfolio in the U.S.

Abstract: The proportion of electricity generated by coal in the U.S. has recently dropped due to a surge in coal-fired power plant retirements. While the drivers of this phenomenon have been a popular subject in the media and among politician, there has been little empirical analysis identifying these drivers. This paper investigates drivers of coal generator retirement using data on coal generator turnover, delivered coal prices, and wholesale electricity prices. In particular, we estimate the impact of sunk retirement costs on the probability of coal generator retirement. By pairing an optimal stopping model of firms' generator retirement decisions with the retirement timing of almost 200 coal-fired generators across the U.S., we estimated implied retirement costs that are not typically disclosed by firms and are not publicly available. Because our real options model cannot impute the retirement costs for coal generators that have not retired, we utilize propensity score matching to assign retirement cost amounts to active coal generators. With this data, we used a parametric approach to estimate the impact of retirement costs on the probability of retirement and found that a one standard deviation increase in retirement costs resulted in a 0.2 percent reduction in the probability of retirement. Our findings were robust across several specifications. We compared the predicted probability of retirement for active coal generators against the U.S. Energy Information Administration's reported retirements for 2016. We found that of the top 20 active coal generators with the highest predicted probability of retirement, almost half of them did indeed retire in 2016.

Bio: Charles Sims is a Faculty Fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. His research interests center on environmental and natural resource economics with a specific emphasis on the role of risk and uncertainty in natural resource, environmental, and energy policy. His past research has investigated issues related to invasive and endangered species, forest management, infectious diseases, and renewable energy.

Sims’s work has been published in refereed journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the USDA Forest Service.


Zoom Information:

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://tennessee.zoom.us/j/608630490

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +16468769923,608630490# or +16699006833,608630490#

Or Telephone: Dial: +1 646 876 9923 (US Toll) +1 669 900 6833 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 608 630 490

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/aFK5Bq5SR

Or an H.323/SIP room system: H.323: (US West) or (US East) Meeting ID: 608 630 490  

SIP: 608630490@zoomcrc.com


Upcoming Seminars

Friday, September 13th - Dr. Anne Skutnik, University of Tennessee

Friday, September 20th - Dr. Yunting Liu, University of Tennessee

Friday, September 27th - Dr. Aminul Huque, ORNL

See the CURENT calendar for more news and seminars