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Jeff Plewes | May 2021

3 May 2021 10:42 AM | Anonymous member

Please note your affiliation and years of experience in the energy and/or environmental field

I am a principal in the Energy Practice at Charles River Associates (CRA), an economic consulting firm. I have been working on energy and environmental topics since I joined CRA nearly 14 years ago.

Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?

My work in the industry is quite broad, covering climate policy, resource adequacy in electricity markets, renewable fuels policy, energy litigation, economic impact analysis, and more. I am interested in providing analytical insight to policymakers and regulators to drive policy and market design choices that address societal goals efficiently, without unintended consequences, and helping businesses to strategically respond.

I am interested in the interactions between differing energy and environmental policies across regions and trade partners. Current examples include interregional power markets with varying state support for clean energy and international trade between countries with disparate climate policies. I am particularly interested in evaluating and addressing emissions leakage.

In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?

We just witnessed a decade of monumental shifts in our industry, with two of the largest being the resurgence of domestic fuel production and the precipitous decline in renewable energy costs. Neither of these shifts were well predicted (see 2021 gas price estimates from 2008). Both shifts had major, and somewhat competing, implications for decarbonization.

As we look forward, we must acknowledge the potential for even greater shifts, including drastic changes in policy to reduce emissions. This uncertainty is an issue for an industry that generally requires large capital investments that serve as bets on the future. Further complicating decision-making are increasing extreme weather events (as observed recently in Texas and elsewhere) and other impacts of a changing climate.  Our industry has big issues to confront, which makes it interesting because there are big solutions to be found.

How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?

I have been a member of NCAC for nearly a decade. What I enjoy most of NCAC events is the ability to talk candidly with individuals passionate about energy economics who bring diverse professional backgrounds. I appreciate that event attendees come with the experiences from their jobs, but they don’t attend solely to represent their organizations.

A specific memory from a few years ago involved sending a client a report I wrote highlighting an issue with the US Renewable Fuel Standard, then heading to an NCAC lunch to hear a speaker take the exact opposite position. It led to a post-talk discussion with the speaker and three other people professionally engaged in the topic. Similar experiences have happened with other topics. I am looking forward to many more.

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