Economics should be open

August 26, 2009

List of european power plants, data sources for electricity generation

Filed under: Carbon Trading, Data Insights, Energy, Open Source — howardchong @ 6:19 pm

I was looking for a list of power plants in Europe in 2008. I didn’t find one. You know why? It just got created in late 2008, and I just found it in 2009.

More beta below the bump.


January 7, 2009

My reading of the Western Climate Initiative Cap and Trade Program Draft Design Recommendations

Filed under: California, Carbon Trading, Energy — Tags: — howardchong @ 12:23 am

At, there is the September 23, 2008 document titled: Design Recommendations for the WCI Regional Cap-and-Trade Program. I found the document fascinating from a policy design perspective. In this blog article, I’m going to highlight three things:

  1. This is the best climate initiative so far, better than the Northeast’s RGGI and Europe’s ETS.
  2. One of the key lynchpins in this initiative is measurement and verification, which I think is a potential critical weak point.
  3. Design Features I find interesting.

Best So Far

The Wstern Climate Initiative (WCI) is the best inititaive so far because it’s aim is to cover 90% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) only covers electricity generation. Europes Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) covers about 46% of GHG’s for the EU and is bigger than RGGI, extending coverage beyond electricity generation to cement, steel, glass, and paper production and *most* facilities that have over 20MW of combustion. (I say *most* because there are some inconsistencies about whether all manufacturing process heat is covered.)

Measurement and Verification
At first, I kinda don’t care if allocation is via auction (what I prefer in the long run) or grandfathering with or without updating. Or whether the cap is set tight or not. The reason is because the first goal of the first period is to get measurement and verification right. Currently, we don’t have a consistent protocol of measuring CO2 at the facility level, even though the measurement should be pretty easy (at least insofar as carbon must be stoichiometrically conserved when fuel is burned). Just measure the fuel inputs.

Don’t assume that this will be easy. We’re talking about tagging and tracking all fuel at some level. Envision an IRS for carbon, the Internal Carbon Service. And there will be arguments about how strict the monitoring and verification needs to be between large plants vs small plants, and whether this should be third party or government verification.

I’m not quite sure how measurement and verification has succeeded in other programs. I *think* the SO2 and NOX markets succeeded very well because they put constant emissions monitoring systems at industrial facilities. I’m not sure if there are any cost/technological impediments to doing this for CO2, but I would imagine it won’t be done. In the EU, they haven’t done emissions monitoring and instead use guidelines on how to estimate CO2 from fuel burn. Though they are currently reviewing their standards (currently each country sets its own standards). Lastly, the California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC) has been implementing a measurement and verification program around demand side management (aka, utility initiated energy saving programs). The idea is that utilities will be paid extra for meeting energy savings goals. Though a big problem there is that energy savings are estimated and estimated using formulas much worse than fuel-burn. We’ll see how that goes. That program is also in it’s first cycle.

And if we extend to CO2E (E=equivalent) it will be even more of a pain in the ass. Do you use average values of emissions/unit-product by sector or actually measure?

Design Features I find interesting
I apologize, but my original post got cut off and I lost my other notes so I can’t quite remember what I found most interesting.

I think one interesting feature is that they allow banking but not borrowing. Ask me and I’ll look at it again to remind myself.

November 26, 2008

15% reduction in trans-Atlantic aviation from carbon costs

Filed under: Carbon Trading — Tags: , , , , — howardchong @ 11:49 pm

So, the European carbon cap-and-trade system (ETS, European Trading Scheme) is strongly moving towards forcing all flights into and out of the EU  to participate; i.e. buy carbon credits. It doesn’t matter if they get allocated them for free, because this opportunity cost will be passed on. See 

What affect would this have on transatlantic travel?

Here’s a back of the envelope calculation that says this will decrease the number of flights across the atlantic by roughly 15%.  A round-trip from Boston Logan to London Heathrow is 3.2 Tons of CO2 (when including Radiative forcing, using the calaulator at Assume a carbon price of about $30/ton (rough estimate of prices, source: ECX).  That’s about a $90 price increase. Assume a $900 price on travel (Orbitz). That’s a 10% price increase. If you assume a price elasticity of 1.5, you get the conclusion of a 15% reduction in transatlantic airline travel.

I make no judgment whether this is a good or bad thing. I like cheap travel. But I also like the environment. The main principle is that if we’re going to force power plants to pay for carbon costs, then everyone should pay. There are no sacred cows that I think should be exempted.

The only other comment is that I think there are considerable loopholes that need to be addressed in implementing this policy. Does a non-stop from SF to Paris get charged for the full distance but a 1-stop with a stop in Boston get charged just for the Atlantic portion? What about 1-stops to Iceland? (This might be the perfect plan to bail out Iceland).

The other thing is that this means that airlines will need to cut back capacity by about 15%. This isn’t hard to do, they already react to changing fuel prices. But if they know this is down the line, this would be a reason to delay heavy investment in more planes.


November 6, 2008

EPER, consistency with indirect emissions, email

So using EPER (European Pollution Emissions Register), I’ve found some anomalies with Aluminum data. The main question is whether some countries might be counting indirect emissions (akin to life cycle analysis). Aluminum,  as I understand it (I can cite a McKenzie report), has very small direct process emissions and mainly uses electricity. Since the CO2 generated is usually attributed to the power plant, that CO2 is “indirectly” emitted by Aluminum producers.

On the same token, my personal direct emissions are the gasoline/petrol and natural gas I burn. The indirect is all the CO2 associated with the electricity I use.

Here is a letter I sent to EPER folks at the European Commission. Hope I get a response!



To Whom It May Concern:
I am a researcher at the Univ of California, Berkeley working with the EPER data. First of all, I want to thank you for providing this information; I’ve found the information very useful and appreciate full access to the database tables (MS ACCESS).
I have a question about the underlying the questionnaire, a copy of which I could not find online (ASIDE: does every country implement their own version of the questionnaire?). My question regards direct vs indirect emissions of CO2 and double-counting. If a manufacturing firm only uses electricity, is the manufacturer’s CO2 emissions zero and the indirect CO2 is reported at the utility level?
Aluminum, anecdotally, should have very small direct CO2 emissions because the main input is electricity. However, the following is just one example of an aluminum producer record with very large CO2 emissions. This leads me to believe that indirect emissions are counted sometimes.
Thank you in advance for your help in understanding the data.

CountryID:  DE

ReportYear:  2004

Emission.FacilityID:  216219


Address:  Aluminiumallee 1

City:  Essen


Emissions (metric tons):  301000

Code:  2.1/2.2/2.3/2.4/2.5/2.6

Description:  Metal industry and metal ore roasting or sintering installations, Installations for the production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals

Text:   Aluminium production                                                                                                                                                                                   

MainActivity:  1

ActivityID:  12

Howard Chong
Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics and UC Energy Institute
UC Berkeley
Office: 510-643-4831
Cell: 510-333-0539

October 31, 2008

CITL, coverage for the ETS, matching to EPER

Filed under: Carbon Trading, Data Insights, Open Source — Tags: , , , , , — howardchong @ 9:53 pm

This post is a big deal for me because it really pushes me to stay true to open source principles.

So, here’s the deal.
The ETS is the Emissions Trading Scheme, a cap and trade carbon program in Europe.
The CITL is the Community Independent Transaction Log for the ETS.
The EPER is European Pollution Emissions Register ( which is a European version of the Toxics Release Inventory in the US, only much better in that it covers more emissions (including CO2).

And, my current project is this 50 hour effort to match records in the CITL to records in the EPER.

What’s the big deal? Well, I’m getting insight into what companies were excluded from the ETS, something that may or may not be well highlighted in the national allocation plans. For all the mandarins running the ETS, could it be that they failed to ensure that countries included all units that should be under the ETS in the ETS? It gets to the question of whether allowances were too high (somewhat, my own sense is that economic activity and weather had something to do with the “over-allocation”).

So, here’s the deal. There’s plenty I want to do with this data and I think there is a small time window to do it. So, if you want to work on this project with my matched database, please write me.

As academia is all about getting credit for what you do, we’d have to talk carefully about credit, etc. But my prior is that any work done would be collaborative and everyone gets to share credit.

If you are a private firm doing proprietary market research (i.e., you wouldn’t want what you do with the data to be public), ask me what info you need, and I’ll probably give it to you, perhaps for a fee or some other trade. This information has a full list of contact information for EUA permit holders.

I’m already telling you too much by telling you that there’s something interesting in the EPER-CITL data matching, but that’s the risk I’m taking. Partly because I think it is more important that good research be done and get out there than that I get total credit.

You comments are deeply appreciated.

September 24, 2008

CITL for ETS (transaction log for emissions trading scheme, carbon trading)

Filed under: Carbon Trading — howardchong @ 8:41 pm

This post is just to note that I have downloaded the complete Community Independent Transaction Log (CITL) for Europe’s carbon trading Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from their website. I wrote a Python script to automate the form submission/downloading process, and used Stata to merge operator information to holdings.

So, if you need this data, please ask and I will happily supply it.

I am also doing some interesting things with matching the CITL to other datasets, but prefer to discuss these things only when I am 1) further along in the process and 2) if someone is interested.

Where to find information on National Allocation Plans, Carbon EU ETS

Filed under: Carbon Trading — howardchong @ 8:36 pm

I found it to pretty hard to find out organized details for the National Allocation Plan (NAP) for individual European countries that are participating in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  One can go to the European Commission website that has all the individual national allocation plans. But these are hard to read through, and in at least one case, Germany, incomplete (Germany’s attachment that lists installations and allocations is not listed).

NAPII refers to National Allocation Plans for what is considered Phase II, which runs from 2008-2012.

This note is just to say that I have a pretty extensive bibliography on National Allocation Plans, with reference to many articles in Climate Policy (mostly 2006).

And also, I want to point you towards

I have the version that has “Last Update: 23 Jan 2007”.

If you are working on National Allocation Plans and want my bibliography (which is disorganized, hence me not posting it), please let me know. Also happy to hear about anyone working in this.




The European Emissions Trading Scheme began operation in 2005 and trades carbon credits for about 1/2 of the emissions from industry. It covers several sectors, most notably electricity generation. A full list of covered industries are in Annex I of the EU directive on emissions trading.

National Allocation Plan

Blog at