Tradable Credit Markets for Intensity Standards
Many environmental standards are expressed in terms of intensity rather than absolute levels. In some cases, intensity standards are associated with tradable credit markets to mitigate the firms’ compliance costs. I develop a jurisdictional model of credit trading under an intensity standard, framed in terms of a Renewable Portfolio Standard for electric utilities. I find that jurisdictions of firms with high costs of compliance may actually be better off by not allowing inter-jurisdictional credit trading. Counterintuitively, increasing the stringency of the intensity standard under credit trading can have the opposite of the intended effect and decrease renewable electricity generation.