Taking a New Look at the External Values of Minnesota’s Electricity Emissions

Presented by Stephen Polasky | Applied Economics Professor, University of Minnesota

In June 2013, University of Minnesota Applied Economics professor Stephen Polasky and graduate student Andrew Goodkind conducted an analysis estimating the value of damages from air pollution generated by fossil-fuel electric power plants. In the fall of 2013, this study was presented to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as evidence that the values for environmental impacts from electricity power plant emissions used by the PUC were a large underestimate of true costs. On December 19, 2013, voted 4 to 1 to further investigate this concern.

In this webinar, Dr. Polasky presents an overview of the 2013 analysis, some context about how these values are being used in Minnesota today, and a process taking place currently at the federal level regarding the Social Cost of Carbon.

Target Audience

  • Energy policy experts (MN and Federal)
  • Pollution regulators
  • Environmentalists
  • Electric utilities

Discussion Points

  • Impetus for this analysis and the Social Cost of Carbon process taking place at the Federal level
  • What are current external values assigned to air pollutants in Minnesota?
  • What is the range of costs estimated by other research and the SCC values?
  • What did your research show as appropriate range of values for pollutants in Minnesota considering current emissions and impacts?
  • How do these costs compare?
  • What would the benefits of revised externality values be? 
If you missed the live webcast, you can click through the slides or download a recording below.



Health & Environmental Costs of Electricity Generation in Minnesota​ (PDF)

Taking a New Look at the External Values of Minnesota’s Electricity Emissions​ (recording)

Presenter Bio

Professor Stephen Polasky is a Regent’s Professor and holds the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Ecological/Environmental Economics at the University of Minnesota. His research interests focus on issues at the intersection of ecology and economics and include the impacts of land use and land management on the provision and value of ecosystem services and natural capital, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, environmental regulation, renewable energy, and common property resources.

He is a faculty member in the Department of Applied Economics and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Institute on the Environment, and a graduate faculty member of the Conservation Biology, Water Resources, and Natural Resource Science and Management Graduate Programs and affiliated faculty at the Law School. 

Stephen received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1986 and a B.A. from Williams College in 1979. He served as Senior Staff Economist for environment and resources for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999. He was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 2010.  He was elected as a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in 2011, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.