Overview of Research
The Effectiveness of Domestic Content Criteria in India's Solar Mission
Anshuman Sahoo and Gireesh Shrimali
Abstract: Often, a goal of renewable energy policies is the development of domestic renewable energy technology manufacturing capacity. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) in India is an example; besides targeting an installation of 20GW of grid-tied solar power capacity, it includes a domestic content requirement (DCR) to strengthen a solar photovoltaic manufacturing base. We ask whether the DCR of the NSM will be effective in ensuring the global competitiveness of the beneficiary sector. Our analysis reveals three observations that indicate this outcome is unlikely: (1) the manufacturing base has become less competitive over time, (2) developers may be favoring thin-film technology, thereby bypassing the DCR, which applies specifically to crystalline silicon cells and modules, and (3) gaps in the Indian innovation system are likely to prevent a return to competitiveness by solar photovoltaic manufacturers. In particular, a comparison with the Chinese innovation system indicates shortcomings in the Indian innovation system of R&D capabilities, coordination of resource provision and complementary industrial strengths. Given these observations, we suggest that policymakers remove the solar photovoltaic DCR from the NSM.
Time of Use Pricing and the Levelized Cost of Intermittent Electricity Generation
Stefan Reichelstein and Anshuman Sahoo
Abstract: An important characteristic of most renewable energy sources is their intemittent pattern of electricity generation. Yet, intermittency is usually ignored in life-cycle cost calculations intended to assess the competitiveness of electric power from renewable as opposed to dispatchable energy sources, such as fossil fuels. This paper demonstrates that for intermittent renewable power sources a traditional life-cycle cost calculation should be appended by a correction factor which we term the Co-Variation coefficient. It captures any synergies, or complementarities, between the time-varying patterns of power generation and pricing. We estimate the Co-Variation coefficient for specific settings in the western United States. Our estimates imply that the benchmark of cost competitiveness for solar PV power is 10-15% lower than average life-cycle costs have suggested. In contrast, the generation pattern of wind power exhibits complementarities with electricity pricing schedules, yielding a cost competitiveness assessment 10-15% above that suggested by traditional calculations.
Working paper version
Refereed conference paper
Engaging the Human in the Design of Residential Energy Reduction Applications
J. Flora, A. Sahoo, A. Liptsey-Rahe, A. Scalmanini, B. Wong, S. Stehly, S. Banerjee.
Abstract: Most online energy conservation interfaces assume that information provision is sufficient to induce behavior change and energy use reductions. A gap between behavioral theory and field practice partly explains why interfaces have not achieved this goal. In this paper, we describe a research program on human centered interactive interface design that bridges this gap with consumer based investigation of two energy reduction interfaces: Kidogo and Powerbar. Kidogo allows users to donate savings from energy conservation to public goods. In the first study, which examines Kidogo components, we investigate how alternative beneficiaries help users to connect emotionally with saving energy. In our second study, comparing Kidogo and Powerbar interventions, we investigate the ability of affectively and cognitively framed interfaces to persuade individuals to perform conservation behaviors. The first study suggests that interfaces should use negative valence images to establish an emotional connection, and the second provides evidence that affectively framed interfaces promote willingness to perform conservation behaviors.
2012 International Conference on Collaborative Technologies and Systems, Denver, Colorado, May 2012
Business Cases and Teaching Notes
KiOR - The Quest for Cellulosic Biofuels
Stefan Rosenthal, Sara Reichelstein and Anshuman Sahoo
Case E427, Stanford GSB Case Series, 2013
Teaching Note for KiOR - The Quest for Cellulosic Biofuels
Stefan Reichelstein and Anshuman Sahoo
Teaching Note E427-TN, Stanford GSB Case Series, 2013
Carbon Capture and Storage in the U.S.: Fact or Fiction - Two Paths to 2030 in Burgelman, R.A. and A.S. Grove, Toward Electric Cars and Clean Coal: A Comparative Analysis of Strategies and Strategy-Making in the U.S. and China
Perencevich, J., A. Sahoo and K. Shattuck
Research Paper 2048, Stanford GSB Research Paper Series, 2010
Work in progress
The Levelized Product Cost of Solar Modules
With Stefan Reichelstein
Details: This work derives a model of economically sustainable pricing for solar PV modules. Economically sustainable prices are those that would provide manufacturers with an adequate profit margin to cover their cost of capital. This definition prompts the use of a pricing model based on a life-cycle cost concept, the "levelized product cost" (LPC). In short, the model interprets this full cost concept as a long-term marginal cost. Combined with current capacity levels and an aggregate demand curve, the long-term marginal cost implies an expected price in a competitive equilibrium. As long as the expected price in competitive equilibrium is at least equal to the average variable unit cost of production, manufacturers will produce modules. This observation helps explain relatively high capacity utilization among some firms despite low prices. Further, the model allows us to predict the level of capacity that would need to be shuttered for market prices to converge to the expected price at competitive equilibrium.
The Use and Impact of Appliance-Specific Feedback on Electricity Consumption
With Juan Carlos Lopez and K. Carrie Armel
Details: In this work, we design, implement and evaluate randomized controlled trials with an electric utility companies in California. In our treatment, we provide consumers with appliance-specific consumption information and quantify its impact on electricity consumption levels at both the household and appliance-specific levels. We study the persistence of these effects in an attempt to distinguish between salience-based and learning-based explanations of consumer response to feedback. Besides the study of the treatment effect and its persistence, my work focuses on the implications of adding price information to the consumption quantity feedback. This work will contribute to an understanding of the degree to which consumers use feedback information and will also form the basis for a welfare analysis of the provision of disaggregated electricity consumption information.
Experiments with Appliance Choice
With Nik Sawe and Brian Knutson
Details: This suite of experiments on appliance choice tests for heterogeneity in decision-making processes among consumers and examines whether behavioral nudges such as the eco-labeling of appliance alternatives shift consumers' decision-making modalities. An implicit assumption in much policy design is that nudges do not alter the decision-making methodology a consumer employs. If such endogeneity exists, behavioral economic policy design and analysis will need to consider the impact of policy on the distribution of decision making processes and the normative implications of subsequent choices. Our experiments are designed to characterize: (1) classes of appliance consumers, (2) attributes of consumers that belong to these different classes, (3) patterns of neural activation in consumers of different classes, (4) decision-making modalities that consumers apply in making appliance choices and (5) switches in decision-making modalities when eco-labels are shown. Our three phases include stated choice experiments and the collection of revealed choice data while subjects are scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Description at Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
When Should We Nudge?
With James Sweeney
Details: While Thaler and Sunstein propose a libertarian paternalistic approach to public policy, a social consensus on whether to alter choice architecture seems plausible only in polemic extremes. This work aims to establish a framework with which to assess the decision to modify choice architecture in other settings. Libertarian paternalistic policies are conceptualized as setting initial points in a "discovered preferences" equilibrium pathway. This framework accounts for inconsistencies in choice data, provides a suggestion for normatively admissible data and will ultimately propose normative criteria with which to judge proposals for libertarian paternalistic policies.