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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



The UNC Energy Center and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise hosted a conference on "Meeting the Renewables Intermittency Challenge" on April 13-14, 2018. The conference, and resulting white paper, examined the true cost of integrating renewable energy generation into the electric grid and explore ways to address the challenges posed by wind and solar energy intermittency.

Servicization is a business strategy to sell the functionality of a product rather than the product itself. It has been touted as an environmentally friendly strategy as it encourages manufacturers to take more responsibility for their products. We study when servicization results in a win-win outcome where it can simultaneously increase a firm’s profits and decrease its environmental impact compared with selling products.

Electricity end-users have been increasingly generating their own electricity via rooftop solar panels. Our paper studies the implications of such “distributed renewable energy” for utility profits and social welfare under net metering that has sparked heated debates in practice. The common belief is that such type of generation significantly decreases utility profits because (i) distributed generation reduces utility’s market size, and (ii) under net metering, utilities must buy back the excess generation of their customers at a rate typically larger than their procurement cost.

This study, sponsored by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the Kenan-Flagler Energy Center, analyzes the economic cost of renewable energy’s ‘last frontier’, providing reliable baseload power. The analysis utilizes five financial and energy models to examine the cost of replacing baseload power with various energy sources to achieve fully decarbonized utility scale electricity generation.

We document that seasonal temperatures have significant and systematic effects on the U.S. economy, both at the aggregate level and across a wide cross-section of economic sectors. This effect is particularly strong for the summer: a 1F increase in the average summer temperature is associated with a reduction in the annual growth rate of state-level output of 0.15 to 0.25 percentage points. We combine our estimates with projected increases in seasonal temperatures and find that rising temperatures could reduce U.S. economic growth by up to one-third over the next century.

Suppliers are increasingly being forced by dominant retailers to clean up their supply chains. These retailers argue that their sustainability mandates may translate into profits for suppliers, but many suppliers are cynical about these mandates because the onus to undertake the required investments is on them while potential gains may be usurped by the mandating retailer.

Dec 1, 2017

FoodCon 2017

FoodCon is a daylong event focused on the business of sustainable food with a goal of bringing together a diverse audience of students, community members, and business professionals who have a shared interest in the sustainable food industry. UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Net Impact students (Elisa Elkind and Brianne Abramowicz, both MBA ’15) had an idea in 2014 to host a conference to talk about the business of sustainable food. Since then, their idea has grown to include partner schools, who each take a turn to co-host the event, Duke University and NC State. This event is a collaborative effort between the three schools that surpasses ‘Tobacco Road’ rivalries. The 2017 event came back to UNC Kenan-Flagler with a theme of ‘Good For All: Sustainable. Profitable. Accessible.’

Jul 10, 2017

UNC Clean Tech Summit

On March 1-2, approximately 1,000 people convened at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill for the fourth annual UNC Clean Tech Summit. Themes of the 2017 summit included clean energy, food, innovation, and water and energy.

As waste from used electronic products grows steadily, manufacturers face take‐back regulations mandating its collection and proper treatment through recycling, or remanufacturing. Environmentalists greet such regulation with enthusiasm, but its effect on remanufacturing activity and industry competition remains unclear. We research these questions, using a stylized model with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) facing competition from an independent remanufacturer (IR).

This paper illustrates the major challenges faced by globally recognised classical art forms through the examination of Kutiyattam, a centuries old renowned theatre form of India, Kutiyattam was declared by the UNESCO in 2001 as an intangible heritage of humankind. During the mid-twentieth century, Kutiyattam performers came out of their traditional performing space in Hindu temples, encouraged by the proactive support of the State. In the wake of the UNESCO recognition for the theatre form, State support measures underwent further strengthening. However, in spite of this, India’s Kutiyattam institutions are confronted with a serious economic crisis that threatens their very existence.

Energy Geopolitics: The policies and interaction of nation states focused on their development, sale & acquisition of essential Energy supplies.
It is focused on behavior of nation states, and concerned with vital role of energy in national economic life & security. This becomes clearer when we list the issues: Physical shortage, due to supply interruption or boycott; political blackmail, under the threat of interrupted supply; price spikes, due to tight market conditions or supply curtailment; economic development, fostering wealth creation & jobs; and environmental consequences, including Climate change.

On April 1-2, 2016, the Energy Center at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened a conference on “Global Frac’ing, What has to Change for it to be a Game Changer?” It was an invitation only event with attendance limited to industry experts, leading consultants and responsible government officials. Attendees and speakers came from the U.S., UK, Poland, Mexico and Canada. This report summarizes the main points which emerged from the speaker presentations and subsequent discussion. It does not attempt to be a comprehensive treatment of Global Frac’ing. Rather, it raises four sets of questions and presents the conclusions which developed. The Executive Summary provides an overview of these conclusions. The appendices share details on two matters much discussed – what would be a model regulatory regime for unconventional development, and what would constitute a model fiscal regime?