Publications

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    Book

    Mark C. Thurber
    2019

    By making available the almost unlimited energy stored in prehistoric plant matter, coal enabled the industrial age – and it still does. Coal today generates more electricity worldwide than any other energy source, helping to drive economic growth in major emerging markets. And yet, continued reliance on this ancient rock carries a high price in smog and greenhouse gases.

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    Working Paper

    Ognen Stojanovski, Mark Thurber, Frank Wolak, George Muwowo, Kat Harrison
    Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, 2018

    Solar lanterns are promoted across rural Sub-Saharan Africa to improve both lighting in homes and educational outcomes. We undertake a randomized controlled trial in Zimba District, Zambia, to evaluate whether solar lanterns help children study more effectively and improve academic performance. Our research design accounts for potential income effects arising from the giveaways of lanterns and also “blinds” participants to the study’s purpose.

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    Policy Brief

    Mark Thurber
    Energy for Growth Hub, 2018

    Many countries with electricity shortages - such as Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania - have large gas reserves but face challenges developing gas for power.

    The gas-to-power value chain can break down in many places and is rarely financially viable if the power sector is not.  Successful development of domestic gas for domestic power requires careful attention to gas and electricity pricing.  International companies and governments may be incentivized to take the more straightforward payout from exports, even where domestic gas use could add more value to the economy.

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    Policy Brief

    Frank Wolak, Frank Wolak
    Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), 2018

    Abstract

    Politicians in a number of jurisdictions with cap-and-trade markets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or carbon taxes have argued that the evidence is in and the conclusion is clear: Carbon pricing doesn’t work. A number of journalists and environmental groups have jumped on the bandwagon, amplifying a misguided message.

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    Working Paper

    Ognen Stojanovski, Gordon Leslie, Frank Wolak, Juan Enrique Huerta Wong, Mark C. Thurber
    SSRN, 2018

    Abstract

    We undertake a field experiment that delivers information on electricity pricing to randomly-selected households in Puebla, Mexico. The 20-minute, in-person intervention educated households on how their electricity use translates into pesos on their electricity bill.

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    Policy Brief

    Mark Thurber
    Stanford Natural Gas Initiative, 2018

    Are gas and renewables good for each other, or are they on a collision course?  We explored this question using a multi-player, web-based game.

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    Working Paper

    Ekaterina Moiseeva, Mohammad Reza Hesamzadeh, Derek W. Bunn, Darryl R. Biggar
    2018

    The ability of an electricity-generating firm with market power to influence the market price depends strongly on the volume the firm has pre-sold in the forward, or hedge, markets. However, the choice of hedge level may be a strategic decision in itself. In this analysis we show that the profit-maximizing choice of the hedge level depends on the extent to which the hedge price varies with the firms hedging decision, which relates to the transparency of the forward market. A lack of transparency results in the hedge price being independent of the firms hedge level.

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    Journal Article

    Ognen Stojanovski, Mark C. Thurber, Frank Wolak
    Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume 37, 2017
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    Policy Brief

    Mark C. Thurber, Mark Thurber
    Stanford Natural Gas Initiative, 2017

    Climage change is a serious global threat with impacts that are already being felt.  In response, a growing number of environmentalists are taking the position that there should be no new energy developments that involve fossil fuels in any form.

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    Book

    Mark C. Thurber, Richard K. Morse
    Cambridge University Press, 2015

    Coal has been the world's fastest-growing energy source in absolute terms for over a decade. Coal also emits more CO2 than any other fossil fuel and contributes to serious air pollution problems in many regions of the world. If we hope to satisfy the demand for affordable energy in emerging economies while protecting the environment, we need to develop a keen understanding of the market that supplies coal. This book offers an in-depth analysis of the key producers and consumers that will most influence coal production, transport, and use in the future.

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    Journal Article

    Mark C. Thurber, Trevor L. Davis, Frank A. Wolak
    The Electricity Journal, 2015

    The authors ran a game-based simulation of an electricity market with both an RPS and a cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gas emissions allowances. High renewable energy shares reduced and shifted the output of thermal units and pushed down both electricity and carbon prices. The markets for renewable energy, carbon allowances, and spot and forward electricity interacted in complex ways that are relevant to the behavior of actual markets.

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    Policy Brief

    Frank A. Wolak
    Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 2015
    The shale oil and gas revolution in the United States (U.S.) has led to a more than 4 million barrels per day increase in domestic oil production since 2008. Combined with an almost 1 million barrel per day increase from the Alberta tar sands, the surge in North American oil production has significantly reduced the region’s demand for imported oil. Increased production of shale gas in North America and the significantly lower dollar per million British thermal unit (BTU) price of natural gas versus oil have caused a number of sectors of the U.S.
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    Policy Brief

    Frank Wolak, Frank Wolak
    Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), 2014
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    Journal Article

    Mark C. Thurber, Himani Phadke, Sriniketh Nagavarapu, Gireesh Shrimali, Hisham Zerriffi
    Energy for Sustainable Development, 2014

    Replacing traditional stoves with advanced alternatives that burn more cleanly has the potential to ameliorate major health problems associated with indoor air pollution in developing countries. With a few exceptions, large government and charitable programs to distribute advanced stoves have not had the desired impact.

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    Journal Article

    Mark C. Thurber, Mark C. Thurber, Christina Warner, Lauren Platt, Xander Slaski, Rajesh Gupta, Grant Miller
    American Journal of Public Health, 2013

    Health risks from poor malaria control, unsafe water, and indoor air pollution are responsible for an important share of the global disease burden—and they can be addressed by efficacious household health technologies that have existed for decades. However, coverage rates of these products among populations at risk remain disappointingly low. We conducted a review of the medical and public health literatures and found that health considerations alone are rarely sufficient motivation for households to adopt and use these technologies.

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    Journal Article

    Mark C. Thurber, Frank Wolak
    The Electricity Journal, 2013

    This paper summarizes the lessons learned from implementing a realistic, game-based simulation of California’s electricity market with a cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fixed-price forward financial contracts for energy. Sophisticated market participants competed to maximize their returns under stressed (high carbon price) market conditions. Our simulation exhibited volatile carbon prices that could be influenced by strategic behavior of market participants.

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    Working Paper

    Alexander Galetovic, Cristián M. Muñoz
    Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, 2013

    Abstract

    We compare the cost of generating electricity with coal and wind in Chile’s Central Interconnected System (SIC). Our estimates include the cost of marginal damages caused by coal plant emissions.

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    Policy Brief

    Mark C. Thurber, Mark C. Thurber, David Hults
    World Oil, 2012
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    Book

    Mark C. Thurber, David G. Victor, David Hults, Mark C. Thurber
    Cambridge University Press, 2012

    National oil companies (NOCs) produce most of the world’s oil and natural gas and bankroll governments across the globe. Although NOCs superficially resemble private-sector companies, they often behave in very different ways. To understand these pivotal state-owned enterprises and the long shadow they cast on world energy markets, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University commissioned Oil and Governance: State-owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply.

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    Working Paper

    Jianjun Tu
    Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, 2011

    China’s annual coal production, at 3.24 billion tonnes (Gt) in 2010, accounted for nearly half of the global total.  In this comprehensive analysis of China’s coal value chain, Jianjun Tu examines the industrial organization and structure of China’s coal production, transport, and consumption.  Tu’s study shines a light on one of the world’s largest and most complex energy markets and should be read by anyone with an interest in the future of coal, climate change, or global energy markets.

    Key topics covered include:

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