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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



This paper studies a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) between a firm and a new renewable energy generator.

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) Policy Fellow - and former Chief Economist of General Motors - Elaine Buckberg outlines how electric vehicles can save the economy as well as the environment.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Energy Center Director Stephen Arbogast discusses the power of carbon taxes to accomplish several goals for energy producers and consumers alike.

A daunting tangle of problems defines the global energy space as 2022 winds down. On the one hand, the war in the Ukraine combined with curtailed Russian oil/gas supplies into Europe has reminded many that unfriendly energy suppliers can also deliver inflation and hardship to their customers. On another side, efforts to increase oil/gas supplies both in Europe and globally, face stout resistance to anything that might further entrench hydrocarbons into national economies. Inflation is prompting monetary policies to tighten even as fiscal indiscipline continues via historically high government deficit spending. Concerns over climate change remain an article of faith among leaders of many countries. Other voices decry the folly of calls to suppress oil/gas production when greener alternatives are not ready to replace them. Electorates seem both confused and restless. The risk that they vote in leaders less insistent on decarbonizing economies is palpable.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Clinical Associate Professor of Finance Arzu Ozoguz discusses the SEC's anticipated new rules around sustainability.

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. We study the impact of such distributed renewable energy (DRE) on utility profits and social welfare under net metering, which is a widespread policy in the United States. Utilities have been lobbying against net-metered distributed solar based on the common belief that it harms utility profits. We find that when wholesale market dynamics are considered, net-metered DRE may be a positive for utilities.

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.

Stock agriculture photo
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.’