- Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy
Marilyn Brown is a professor in the School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States.
Her research focuses on the design and impact of policies aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies, with an emphasis on the electric utility industry, the integration of energy efficiency, demand response, and solar resources, and ways of improving resiliency to disruptions. Her books include Green Savings: How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency (Praeger, 2015), Climate Change and Global Energy Security (MIT Press, 2011), and Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016). She has authored more than 250 publications. Her work has had significant visibility in the policy arena as evidenced by her numerous briefings and testimonies before state legislative bodies and Committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
Dr. Brown co-founded the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and chaired its Board of Directors for several years. She has served on the boards of directors of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy, and was a commissioner with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She has served on six National Academies committees and currently serves on the editorial boards of two journals: Energy Efficiency and Energy Research and Social Science. She is serving her second term as a Presidential appointee to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power provider, and she serves on DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee.
Working Paper – June 2016
Since the release of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), stakeholders across the U.S. have vigorously debated the pros and cons of different options for reducing CO2 emissions from electricity generation. This paper examines an array of CPP strategies, ranging from incremental to transformational, and from the near-term to the longer-term. The goal is to identify least-cost options to help policymakers and other stakeholders make well-informed choices. The Georgia Institute of Technology’s National Energy Modeling System is used to evaluate alternative futures. Our modeling suggests that CPP compliance can be achieved cost effectively by expanding new natural gas and renewable electricity generation to replace higher emitting coal plants and by using energy efficiency to curb demand growth, thereby enabling a more affordable pace of plant replacements. Post-2030 policies requiring further CO2 emission reductions, in combination with perfect foresight today, would motivate less natural gas build-out over the next 15 years. The South’s response to the CPP is distinct, with a larger share of coal retirements and a greater proportionate uptake of natural gas, energy efficiency, and renewable resources. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, these least-cost compliance scenarios would produce substantial collateral benefits including lower electricity bills across all customer classes and significant reductions in local air pollution. http://cepl.gatech.edu/projects/ppce/cpp%26b#
Book – April 2016392pgs. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Refereed Journal article – March 2016© 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.This paper provides a global overview of the design, implementation, and evolution of building energy codes. Reflecting alternative policy goals, building energy codes differ significantly across the United States, the European Union, and China. This review uncovers numerous innovative practices including greenhouse gas emissions caps per square meter of building space, energy performance certificates with retrofit recommendations, and inclusion of renewable energy to achieve 'nearly zero-energy buildings'. These innovations motivated an assessment of an aggressive commercial building code applied to all US states, requiring both new construction and buildings with major modifications to comply with the latest version of the ASHRAE 90.1 Standards. Using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), we estimate that by 2035, such building codes in the United States could reduce energy for space heating, cooling, water heating, and lighting in commercial buildings by 16%, 15%, 20%, and 5%, respectively. Impacts on different fuels and building types, energy rates and bills as well as pollution emission reductions are also examined.Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment. 5. Issue 2. 188 - 215. ISSN 2041-8396. DOI 10.1002/wene.168.
Refereed Journal article – 2016
How climate change might impact energy demand is not well understood, yet energy forecasting requires that assumptions be specified. This paper reviews the literature on the relationship between global warming and the demand for space cooling in buildings. It then estimates two key parameters that link energy for space cooling to cooling degree days (CDDs) using data for nine U.S. Census divisions, which is the spatial resolution of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). The first parameter is the set point temperature for calculating CDDs; the second is the exponent for representing the relationship between changes in CDDs and changes in electricity consumption for space cooling. We find that the best-fitting CDDs have a set point of 67 °F (19.4 °C), for both residential and commercial buildings, rather than the conventional 65 °F (18.3 °C). Set points also vary by region, with warmer regions tending to have higher set points. When CDDs are based on the conventional set point, the best fitting exponent is 1.5 for both residential and commercial buildings, indicating that space cooling is more climate-sensitive than is specified in NEMS. As a result, the official projections of U.S. energy consumption would appear to underestimate the energy required for space cooling.
Brown, Marilyn A., Matt Cox, Ben Staver and Paul Baer. 2016. Modeling climate-driven changes in U.S. buildings energy demand. Climatic Change (2016) 134:29–44 DOI 10.1007/s10584-015-1527-7
Refereed Journal article – 2016
Brown, Marilyn A. and Daniel D’Arcy. 2016. “Energy Resources and Use,” The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, forthcoming.
Refereed Journal article – 2016© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.How climate change might impact energy demand is not well understood, yet energy forecasting requires that assumptions be specified. This paper reviews the literature on the relationship between global warming and the demand for space cooling in buildings. It then estimates two key parameters that link energy for space cooling to cooling degree days (CDDs) using data for nine U.S. Census divisions, which is the spatial resolution of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). The first parameter is the set point temperature for calculating CDDs; the second is the exponent for representing the relationship between changes in CDDs and changes in electricity consumption for space cooling. We find that the best-fitting CDDs have a set point of 67 °F (19.4 °C), for both residential and commercial buildings, rather than the conventional 65 °F (18.3 °C). Set points also vary by region, with warmer regions tending to have higher set points. When CDDs are based on the conventional set point, the best fitting exponent is 1.5 for both residential and commercial buildings, indicating that space cooling is more climate-sensitive than is specified in NEMS. As a result, the official projections of U.S. energy consumption would appear to underestimate the energy required for space cooling.Climatic Change. 134. Issue 1-2. 29 - 44. ISSN 0165-0009. DOI 10.1007/s10584-015-1527-7.
Refereed Journal article – 2016
Stern, Paul C., Kathryn B. Janda, Marilyn A. Brown, Linda Steg, Edward L. Vine, and Loren Lutzenhiser. 2016. “Opportunities and insights for Reducing Fossil Fuel Consumption by Households and Organizations” Nature Energy, DOI: 10.1038/NENERGY.2016.43, May
Report / Working Paper – November 2015Publisher's Site.
Refereed Journal article – June 2015
Recent literature on demand response raises questions about the long-term capacity and carbon emissions impacts of expanding its deployment. To provide economy-wide insights into how demand response, capacity planning, and carbon emissions might interact in the future, we perform economic forecasts using a computational general equilibrium model based on the Energy Information Administration's National Energy Modeling System. We develop multiple scenarios of assumptions about the load-shifting and load reduction potential of demand response based on prior literature. The results of these scenarios suggest that demand response can defer large amounts of peak capacity construction. Contrary to expectations of increased carbon intensity, the results of our scenarios also suggest that demand response will have little impact on overall carbon emissions from electric power generation. This suggests that demand response can serve as a long-term, low-cost alternative for peak-hour load balancing without increasing carbon emissions.
Smith, Alexander M. and Brown, Marilyn A. (2015) Demand response: A carbon-neutral resource? Energy, 85, pp. 10-22
Chapter – April 2015Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy. 121 - 146. DOI 10.4337/9781781003930.00019.
Report / Working Paper – February 2015© 2014 Elsevier B.V.Sustainable economic development requires the efficient production and use of energy. Combined heat and power (CHP) offers a promising technological approach to achieving both goals. While a recent U.S. executive order set a national goal of 40. GW of new industrial CHP by 2020, the deployment of CHP is challenged by financial, regulatory, and workforce barriers. Discrepancies between private and public interests can be minimized by policies promoting energy-based economic development. In this context, a great deal of rhetoric has addressed the ambiguous goal of growing "green jobs." Our research provides a systematic evaluation of the job impacts of an investment tax credit that would subsidize industrial CHP deployment. We introduce a hybrid analysis approach combining simulations using the National Energy Modeling System with Input-output modeling. NEMS simulates general-equilibrium effects including supply- and demand-side resources. We identify first-order employment impacts by creating "bill of goods" expenditures for the installation and operation of industrial CHP systems. Second-order impacts are then estimated based on the redirection of energy-bill savings accruing to consumers; these include jobs across the economy created by the lower electricity prices that would result from increased reliance on energy-efficient CHP systems. On a jobs-per-GWh basis, we find that the second-order impacts are approximately twice as large as the first-order impacts.141 - 153. ISSN 0921-8009. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.12.007.