Division Seminars & Faculty Short Courses

2013-2014

All Seminars are held in Engineering Hall 211unless otherwise noted

Spring 2014

April 25, 2014  (3:00-4:30)  Marquez 122
Topic: The Housing Market Impacts of Shale Gas Development
Speaker: Christopher D. Timmins is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Duke University, with a secondary appointment in Duke’s Nicolas School of the Environment. He holds a BSFS degree from Georgetown University and a PhD in Economics from Stanford University. Professor Timmins specializes in natural resources and environmental economics, but he also has interests in industrial organization, development, public and regional economics.
Abstract: Using data from Pennsylvania and New York and an array of empirical techniques to control for confounding factors, we recover hedonic estimates of property value impacts from shale gas development that vary with geographic scale, water source, well productivity, and visibility. Results indicate large negative impacts on nearby groundwater-dependent homes, while piped-water-dependent homes exhibit smaller positive impacts, suggesting benefits from lease payments. At a broader geographic scale, we find that new wellbores increase property values, but these effects diminish over time. Undrilled permits cause property values to decrease. Results have implications for the debate over regulation of shale gas development.

April 23, 2014 ( 3:30-4:45) Engineering Hall 211
Topic: Kicking it up a Notch: Home Energy Performance Certificates & Energy Efficiency
Speaker: Dr. Mirko Moro earned his PhD at the University College Dublin and is visiting the Colorado School of Mines for the month of April. His work focuses on the interaction between environment, energy and well-being.
Abstract:From 2007, sellers of residential buildings in the UK were required to publish an energy performance certificate (EPC). The EPC reports energy efficiency as a colour-coded letter grade (from A-G), and also as a score on a linear 0-100 scale (SAP score). Crucially, at certain thresholds, a one point improvement in SAP score moves the home into a higher letter grade. This shift is more salient than a one point shift at other points in the distribution because it changes the colour of the rating on the visual scale. This paper tests whether the public and easily comparable nature of EPCs could incentivize sellers and existing home owners to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes. Using data from the English Housing Survey, over 20,000 homes both before (2002-2004) and after (2008-2010) the introduction of EPCs we test whether there is an effect of EPCs on home energy efficiency by testing whether the distribution of homes changes on either side of each letter grade threshold after the EPCs were required. Results find a statistically smaller number of households just below a grade threshold, though only for thresholds in the middle of the scale. Very high and very low quality houses seem to have been unaffected by the new information.

April 11, 2014  (3:30-4:45) Engineering Hall 211
Topic: Unconventional Oil and Gas Production and its Impact on the Energy Business
Speaker: William Fleckenstein, Professor of Petroleum Engineering-Colorado School Mines
Abstract:The conventional wisdom is that the “easy oil” to be discovered worldwide has been discovered and that world oil production will peak, or may have peaked and is beginning a period of unstoppable decline.However, in the US and Canada, unconventional sources of hydrocarbons are challenging the conventional wisdom that “Peak Oil” is upon us. Currently approximately 70% of the rigs drilling in the US are pursuing unconventional targets. This has reversed the decline in US production, and last year added nearly 1 million BOPD to the US oil and gas production. This presentation will discuss unconventional oil and gas production techniques, and its impact, on both the US and worldwide energy business.

April 4, 2014 ( 3:30-4:45) Engineering Hall 211
Topic:Photovoltaics and the Benefits and Challenges of Solar Energy
Speaker: P.Craig Taylor is a Professor of Physics at the Colorado School of Mines and is the Associate Director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute.

March 28, 2014  (3:30-4:45) Engineering Hall 211
Topic: Public Incentives for Conservation Easements on Private Land
Speaker: Dr. Jorcdan Suter is an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University  in the department of Agriculture and Resource Economics. His research focuses on land use policy, water resource economics and the analysis of pollution control regulations.
Abstract: Habitat destruction and fragmentation resulting from land development has motivated considerable public expenditures on land conservation initiatives. In addition to direct expenditures related to the procurement of conservation land, public entities have also put in place generous incentives aimed at encouraging private landowners to voluntarily donate conservation easements on their property. Many landowners have taken advantage of these incentives, as privately held land under conservation easement has increased nearly five-fold between over the last decade. This research seeks to inform the design and implementation of public incentives for conservation easements by reviewing the broad range of incentives currently in place and analyzing how these incentives have influenced the nature and distribution of conservation easements throughout the United States

March 21, 2014 ( 3:30-4:45) Engineering Hall 211
Topic: China's Export Restrictions on Rare Earth Elements: Motivations, Effects, and Persistence
Speaker: Frank Pothen is a visiting scholar to the Colorado School of Mines from the Centre for European Economic Research in Germany

February 28, 2014 (3:30 - 4:45)  Engineering Hall 211
Topic: Subsidies and Investments in the Solar Power Markets
Speaker: Dr. Burr is an assistant professor at CU Boulder in their department of Economics. Her research focuses on Solar PV policy analysis, renewable energy technologies, corruption and R&D. Dr. Burr has her PhD in Economics from the University of Arizona
Abstract: Over the last 10 years, the solar photovoltaic (PV) market has experienced tremendous growth due in part to government incentive programs. This paper estimates a dynamic model to understand the impact of these programs on residential solar installations and evaluate the impact of alternative incentive policies. The model separately evaluates the effect of system costs, capacity-based subsidies, tax credits and production revenues using a 51=4 year data set collected by the California Solar Initiative program, which subsidized solar installations in California. The results indicate that capacity-based subsidies are equally effective as production-based subsidies, but that the latter are more efficient. With a $100 social cost of carbon, the total subsidies in California would be welfare neutral. If California were only as sunny as Frankfurt, Germany and to maintain the current amount of solar electricity production, this value would have to be $730 to be welfare neutral. I find that without subsidies, 40% to 60% of the installations would not occur.

 

Fall 2013

November 22nd ( 3:30 - 4:30)
Topic: Asymmetric Information in Residential Rental Markets: Implications for the Energy Efficiency Gap
Speaker: Erica Myers is a PhD candidate in the Ag. and Resource Economics department at UC Berkeley. Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Erica was a research assistant at Resources for the Future where she worked on various energy-related projects and cap-and-trade policy design projects. Erica has a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island
Abstract: This paper explores whether there are energy cost information asymmetries between landlords and tenants.  If tenants are uninformed about energy costs, landlords cannot capitalize energy efficiency investments into higher rents, leading to under-investment. I exploit variation in energy costs in the form of relative heating fuel price changes in the northeastern United States where some units heat with oil and some units heat with natural gas.  I find that changes in energy costs are capitalized into rents when landlords pay for energy, suggesting landlords are informed about their costs.  In contrast, when tenants pay for energy, I cannot reject zero capitalization, which is consistent with tenants lacking information.  Turnover, owner occupancy rates, and energy efficiency investments are also different between the two payment regimes in ways consistent with asymmetric information.
 

November 8th  (3:30 - 4:30)
Topic: The Evolution of Energy Systems
Speaker: Derek Lemoine is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on answering energy and climate policy questions by integrating scientific and economic uncertainty into computationally feasible models. Derek holds a Ph.D. from Berkeley’s interdisciplinary Energy & Resources Group, as well as an M.A. in economics from Berkeley, an M.S. in energy and resources from Berkeley, and a B.A. in philosophy and integrative environmental solutions from the University of the South.
Abstract: Modern energy systems have been dominated by a sequence of
resources: first biomass, then coal, then oil, and, increasingly, natural gas.The primary environmental policy challenge of the twenty-first century is to induce a transition back towards renewables. I develop an endogenous growth model featuring exploration for new fossil resources and directed technical change among technologies for using energy resources. Renewable technologies exhibit lock-in due to increasing returns in the level of technology, whereas innovation in a fossil resource's combustion technologies occurs in tandem with exploration for that resource. Policies that improve energy efficiency in order to reduce pollution can easily backfire, actually increasing fossil resource extraction in current and future periods. In contrast, policies that lock up marginal fossil resources almost always reduce current and future extraction and hasten the transition to renewable resources.

November 1st  (12:30-1:30)
Topic:  Unitended Consequences of Transportation Carbon Policies
Speaker: Jonathan Hughes is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and CU Boulder. His research interests are in energy, environmental economics and empirical industrial organization.  His current research focuses on gasoline markets, the land use aspects of biofuel production, and climate change policy in the transportation sector. Dr. Hughes received his PhD from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.
Abstract: Renewable fuel standards, low carbon fuel standards, and ethanol subsidies are popular policies to incentivize ethanol production and reduce emissions from transportation. Compared to carbon trading, these policies lead to large shifts in agricultural activity and unexpected social costs. We simulate the 2022 Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and find that energy crop production increases by 39 million acres. Land- use costs from erosion and habitat loss are between $277 and $693 million. A low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and ethanol subsidies have similar effects while costs under an equivalent cap and trade (CAT) system are essentially zero. In addition, the alternatives to CAT magnify errors in assigning emissions rates to fuels and can over or under-incentivize innovation. These results highlight the potential negative effects of the RFS, LCFS and subsidies, effects that would be less severe under a CAT policy.

October 25th (3:30-4:45)
Topic: 
The Unintended Consequences of Uncoordinated Regulation: Evidence from the Transportation Sector
Speaker: Dr. Roth is an assistant professor at UC Irvine in their department of economics. His research focuses on environmental, energy, and urban economic topics. Dr. Roth has a PhD in economics from Cornell
Abstract:In this paper I examine how two policies that are a priori equivalent, fuel economy standards and feebates, interact differently with complementary policies that also attempt to improve fuel economy. To examine these interactions I build a general equilibrium model of the automobile market that allows manufacturers to trade off horsepower, weight, and fuel economy of vehicles along a production possibility frontier (PPF). I also estimate household demand for vehicles and miles for a simulation model that includes the used car and scrappage markets. This model allows me to simulate the interaction of a research and development policy that increases the PPF of domestic firms, or a tax credit that increases demand for efficient vehicles, with either a CAFE standard or feebate. I find that vehicle emissions increase under all these interactions but the effects are muted under the feebate because it allows fuel economy to improve by 0.60% to 1.88%, while CAFE, by targeting an average fuel economy, will always offset these uncoordinated complementary policies.

October 11th  (12:30-1:30)
Topic: The water implications of generating electricity: Water impacts across the United States based on different electricity pathways.
Speaker: Mr. Macknick is an energy and environmental analyst at NREL and a member of the Energy Forecasting and Modeling Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center. His particular areas of research interest include the interface of energy and water in policy planning, environmental impacts of renewable energy technologies, and renewable energy deployment in developing countries. Mr. Macknick holds a B.A. in mathematics and environmental studies from Hamline University and an MS in transboundary natural resource policy from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

September 27th and October 18th  (12:30-1:30)
Topic: Introduction to MATLAB
Speaker: Leah Kaffine has extensive experience in quantitative analytics having worked in the Colorado Energy Industry for over 6 years. Presently Leah is the Senior Quantitative Analyst for SourceGas working with the Financial Planning and Analysis Group. Prior to SourceGas, Leah worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory ( NREL) in the Energy and Model Forecasting Group. Leah’s obsession with MATLAB began in a numerical analysis course for her degree in Applied Mathematics at UC Santa Barbara. MATLAB has proven an invaluable tool  throughout her career within the energy industry. Previous employers also include Bentek Energy, Raytheon and Xcel Energy.
Abstract: The ability to analyze large datasets and not be constrained by the limitations of spreadsheet software (Excel) will set you apart to employers. Come see practical real world examples of how MATLAB is utilized by industry. Workshop assumes no programming experience or prior MATLAB use. Topics that will be covered in this seminar include MATLAB introduction, Industrial Applications of MATLAB and Working with time series data (importing data, generating data, regression analysis).

September 20th  (12:30-1:30)
Topic: What to get out of the Mineral & Energy Economics Graduate School Experience and how to apply it.
Speaker: After starting as an intern at Ponderosa this past February, Chris accepted a position at Ponderosa Advisors that has since transitioned from simple correlation analysis to leadership of the firm’s applied statistical work. Currently, he works on many fronts, including forecasting natural gas storage, NGL production, and associated gas contribution to the NGL stream. However, his main focus is on the agricultural side of the company, where he is a project manager developing statistics-based optimization tools for use in property and asset acquisition.
Abstract:How to make the most of the years you spend at Mines
How to choose a specialization
How to explain the program in an interview – as it turns out, no one really knows what Mineral and Energy Economics is
How to distinguish yourself from an MBA
The problems you will almost certainly have in your first month on the job
The skills the market values
The things you really need to say in an interview

September 6th  (12:30 - 1:30 )
Topic: Technological Change, Vehicle Characteristics, and the Opportunity Costs of Fuel Economy Standards
Speaker: Dr. Linn’s research centers on the effect of environmental regulation and market incentives on technology, with particular focus on the electricity sector and markets for new vehicles. His work on the electricity sector has compared the effectiveness of cap and trade and alternative policy instruments in promoting new technology, including renewable electricity technologies. His work in vehicle markets investigates the effect of CAFÉ standards on new vehicle characteristics and the effect of gasoline prices on new vehicle fuel economy. Dr. Linn joined Resources for the Future in March 2010 and previously was a n assistant professor in the economics department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a research scientist at MIT. At MIT, he served as executive director of the MIT Study of the Future of Solar Energy. Dr. Linn has a B.A. in Astronomy and Physics from Yale and a Ph.D in economics from M.I.T.
Abstract:Many countries are tightening passenger vehicle standards for fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions rates. Because manufacturers jointly choose fuel economy, performance, and other vehicle characteristics, the standards could affect other vehicle characteristics besides fuel economy. We use a simple model of the vehicle market to show that the welfare effects of the standards depend largely on how they affect the rate and direction of technology adoption—whether manufacturers use new technology to increase fuel economy rather than to improve other vehicle characteristics. Recent standards in the United States and Europe have affected both the rate and direction of technology adoption. The reduction in horsepower and torque represents an opportunity cost of the standards that we estimate to be roughly the same magnitude as the expected fuel savings.

2012-2013


All Seminars in Engineering Hall 211

SPRING 2013 

April 26 (12:00 – 1:15 pm)
Topic:  Lunch and Learn -- Zayo Group
Speaker:  Zayo Group is global provider of bandwidth infrastructure services, including dark fiber, lit and IP services, and carrier-neutral collocation and interconnection. Its 72,800 route mile network connects locations in and between cities on dense metro and inter city fiber assets. The firm was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Louisville, Colo.  Zayo is particularly interested in Economics and Business majors (BS and MS).

April 19  (3 – 4:15 pm)
Topic:  Booms, Busts and Natural Resource Curses: Economic Effects of Energy Development in the West
Abstract: The recent boom in domestic energy development has cast renewed attention on western energy boomtowns, and questions about the short and long run economic impacts of oil and gas drilling on local communities have resurfaced. Bodies of literature suggest that these communities may be cursed with slower income growth in the long run, and that local labor will capture few economic gains. We study the oil drilling boom-and-bust cycle during the 1970s and 1980s to gain insights on these questions. Using county-level panel data of drilling and economic outcome variables from 1969 to 2000, we find evidence of positive labor market spillovers to non-energy sectors along with significant increases in earnings, employment, and income during the boom. After the bust, there is little evidence of positive long-term economic growth. Additionally, we find that unemployment compensation in the boom-and-bust counties spiked upward immediately with the mid-1980s bust and stayed high relative to non-boom counties through 2000.
Speaker:  Dr. Grant Jacobsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Dr. Jacobsen’s research interests include environmental economics and policy, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and voluntary environmental protection.

 April 4 (4:00 - 5:15 pm)
Topic:
Royalty Financing - A Comparison of Traditional and Non-Traditional Mine Finance
Abstract:  This presentation provides an examination of mine finance from an alumnus of the Mineral Economics program.  Mr. Kirchhoff outlines the pros and cons of varying methods of mine finance wit a focus on non-traditional methods such as royalties, metal streams, and off-take agreement. 
Speaker:  Mr. Kirchhoff is Vice-President and General Counsel of Royal Gold, Inc., in Denver, Colorado.  Previously Mr. Kirchhoff was a partner with Carver Kirchhoff Schwarz McNab & Bailey, LLC, where he represented hard rock and industrial minerals clients as well as mineral exploration and development companies. 

April 3  (3:30 – 4:45 pm)
Topic: U.S. State Fiscal Policy and Natural Resources
Abstract:  An analytical framework predicts that, in response to an exogenous increase in resource-based government revenue, a benevolent government will partially substitute away from taxing income, increase spending and save. 43 years of U.S. state-level data are consistent with this theory. A fixed-effects model suggests that a 1% point increase in resource revenue results in a .25% point decrease in non-resource revenue, a .45% point increase in government expenditures and a .30% point increase in public savings. These results are largely robust to instrumentation, the omission of outliers and lagging explanatory variables. Interacting resource revenue with state political leanings indicates that democratic governments spend and save more resource revenue than do their republican counterparts. More generally, this paper illustrates the important role that natural resources play in shaping state fiscal policy.
Speaker:  Dr. Alex James is a research fellow at the Center for Analysis of Resource Rich Economies in the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford.  He earned his PhD in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2012 after receiving his BA in economics from California State University, Chico in 2006.
 
March 29  (12:00 – 1:15 pm)
Topic:  Strategic Behavior in Smart Markets with Avoidable Fixed Costs
Abstract:  Previous research of complex-offer auctions designed for deregulated electricity markets finds that offer complexity allows a great deal of strategic behavior, which consequently leads to anti-competitive and inefficient outcomes. In smart markets that employ complex-offer auctions, the sellers submit not only quantities and minimum prices at which they are willing to sell, but also start-up fees that are designed to reimburse the fixed costs of electric power generators. Using an experimental approach, he compares the performance of two complex-offer auctions against the performance of a simple-offer auction, in which the sellers have to recover all their generation costs – variable and fixed – through a uniform market-clearing price. He finds that the simple-offer auction significantly reduces consumer prices and lowers price volatility. It also mitigates anti-competitive effects that are present in complex-offer auctions and achieves allocative efficiency more quickly.
Speaker:  Rimvydas (Rim) Baltaduonis is an assistant professor in the Economics Department at Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania where he teaches Industrial Organization & Public Policy, Energy Economics, and Experimental Economics. Rim's broad fields of specialty are energy economics, industrial organization, experimental economics, and market design. His current research is focused on deregulated electricity markets. Rim is also an Affiliate Researcher at the Resources, Energy and Environmental Markets Lab in the University of Sydney, Australia and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. 
 
March 22  (3 – 4:15 pm)
Topic:  Overlapping Environmental Policies: When Does Renewable Electricity Reduce Pollution?
Abstract:  Policies designed to expand renewable electricity generation (or reduce electricity demand) have become commonplace. Frequently, renewables and energy conservation are being supported in regions with overlapping environmental regulations such as cap-and-trade as well as Renewable Portfolio Standards. Previous studies demonstrate that once a cap has been placed on the aggregate emissions of a pollutant, a renewable subsidy results in higher abatement costs with no additional abatement. However, the literature exploring interactions between multiple policy instruments has largely abstracted from the fact that the electricity sector produces a wide variety of pollutants, many of which are not subject to a cap. In this paper, it is analytically demonstrated that once a binding cap has been placed on a subset of pollutants, increases in renewable electricity not only offset zero units of the capped pollutants, they can actually increase the aggregate emissions of the uncapped pollutants. Using data on the hourly generation and emissions of CO2 and NOx from the EPA’s NOx cap-and-trade program (CAIR), I provide evidence that increases in renewable electricity are in fact causing CO2 emissions to increase. In settings where regulators are unable to optimally regulate each pollutant, results suggest that efficiency gains can be achieved by combining subsidies for renewables (or energy conservation) with emissions taxes, as opposed to emissions caps.
Speaker:  Dr. Kevin Novan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. He received his Ph.D. in March 2012 from the University of California, San Diego and his dissertation examined the environmental benefits provided by intermittent renewable electricity generation.  Dr. Novan’s fields of interest are environmental and natural resource economics, energy economics, applied microeconomics, and industrial organization. Dr. Novan’s current research focuses primarily on exploring how policies can mitigate the environmental impacts stemming from generating electricity. 

March 21 (4:00 - 5:15)
Topic:
  A Depiction of the Mining Business of the Next 30+ Year Veteran
Abstract:  This presentation will focus on the issues facing the mining industry over the coming 30 years.  Issues such as commodity cycles, climate change, NGO engagement, and nationalization will likely impact the industry in important ways.  The intent is for an experienced CEO at one end of a thirty year career to lay out key issues for students on the other end of their thirty years in mining.
Speaker:  Mr. Kevin Loughrey has been CEO of Thompson Creek Metals since since 1997.  Mr. Loughrey also served as the Senior Vice-President and General Counsel for Cyprus Minerals and First Dynasty Mines.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Houston. 
 

February 22
Topic:  
Optimal Carbon Taxes with Non-Constant Time preference
Abstract:  The paper derives an explicit formula for the near-term carbon price in a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium climate model in which agents employ arbitrary non-constant time preference rates. The paper uses a simplified version of the model in Golosov et al. (2011), though we argue that the added assumptions are unlikely to matter for our conclusions. The formula is derived first under the assumption that the initial decision-maker has a commitment device, then solving for the unique subgame perfect equilibrium. Somewhat remarkably, the near-term carbon price is the same in both cases. We further show that the near-term carbon price remains unchanged for all potential beliefs about the time preference structure of future generations. It follows that concerns about time inconsistency can be safely ignored when applying the derived formula. The carbon price is the same as the Pigouvian tax in the equilibrium with commitment, and it is bigger than the Pigouvian tax in the equilibrium without commitment provided damages are sufficiently persistent. The formula reduces to the carbon price formula in Golosov et al. (2011) when discounting is constant, and it reduces to the carbon price formula in Gerlagh and Liski (2012) when discounting is quasi-hyperbolic.
Speaker:  Dr. Terry Iverson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Colorado State University.  He received his PhD from the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin and his research interests fall within the economics of climate change and energy economics. 

 

FALL 2012

December 7 (12:00 - 1:00 pm) 
Topic: Power to Choose? An Analysis of Choice Frictions in the Residential Electricity Market
Abstract: This paper studies the size and consequence of consumer inertia in a setting where retail choice is first permitted. Retail choice has been an important feature of the deregulation of many formerly regulated markets such as long-distance telecom, electricity, and natural gas. The expansion of consumer choice has been touted as a means to allow consumers to pay more competitive prices and enjoy more value-added services. However, choice frictions can diminish the benefits of retail choice. We use household-level data for the first four years of residential electric choice in Texas to study the choices of consumers. We find that the majority of customers continued to purchase from the incumbent despite large potential monetary savings from switching. We develop an econometric model that allows us to distinguish between three different sources of this observed inertial behavior – (1) inattention due to status quo bias, (2) an incumbent brand advantage, and (3) switching costs. We find that the incumbent enjoys a “brand” effect that provides it with a market share advantage even when lower-priced newcomers enter the market. However, the incumbent’s brand advantage appears to diminish over time. We also find that search and switching costs are important; only a fraction of households actively consider their options each month, and those who do consider other options are face switching costs. We use our choice parameter estimates to conduct a policy counterfactual experiment that informs consumers about the ability to choose and the nature of their options, and we find that such an information treatment could yield notable consumer surplus gains. Our findings have implications for the design of new markets when consumers are provided with choice.
Speaker: Steven Puller, Associate Professor at the University of Texas A&M
 

December 4
Topic: Measuring the Effects of Natural Gas Pipeline Constraints on Regional Pricing and Market Integration
Abstract: Natural gas markets in the United States depend on an extensive network of pipelines to transport gas from production fields to consumers. While these pipelines are essential for the operation of natural gas markets, their capacity sets a physical limit on the quantity of gas that can be moved between regions. Taking advantage of a rich data set of daily pipeline capacities and flows, this paper directly examines the effects of binding pipeline constraints. Constraints significantly increase realized citygate prices in both the Florida and Southern California markets. Cointegration between hub and distant market holds when pipeline flows are not constrained, and break down during constrained periods. Cointegration techniques may not identify bottlenecks between regions when bottlenecks are mild, or when they only occur for limited periods of time. Contrary to earlier results, Southern California and Rockies markets are found to be integrated with the national market. Cointegration tests using data from 14 market points support the notion that wholesale natural gas markets in the United States are generally integrated into a national market.
Speaker: Timothy Fitzgerald is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics & Economics at Montana State University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Published research covers a number of topics, including economic impacts of severed mineral rights, oil and gas leasing, and ecosystem services.
 

November 30 (12:00 - 1:00 pm)
Topic: Could Subsidy Labeling be Counter productive: Winter Fuel Payment and Energy Decisions
Abstract: The Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) is the main policy of the UK governments attempt to reduce winter morbidity and mortality in older UK households. Previous research, Beatty et.al. (2011) has shown that older households spend a much high percentage of the WFP on heating and electricity than other transfers that do not have the word “fuel” in the title. This labeling effect, generally explained with behavioral economics principles, could be counter productive to energy policy if the labeling discourages households from investing in household insulation or renewable energy. Utilizing the sharp eligibility criteria for the WFP, this analysis shows that households in receipt of the WFP are statistically more likely to install renewable energy technologies but statistically less likely to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Speaker: Dr. Lange is a senior lecturer in economics at Stirling University in Scotland. Prior to this position, Dr. Lange was a post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. EPA. His research focuses on energy and environmental economics, industrial organization, and property rights. His work has been published in various academic journals including Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, The Energy Journal, Land Economics, and Environment and Resource Economics. Dr. Lange received his BA and MA in economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and his PhD in economics from the University of Washington.
 

November 16
Topic: Dynamic Salience and Intermittent Price Signals: Theory and Evidence from Smart Electricity Meters
Abstract: In neoclassical demand theory, the cost of consumption is known at the time choices are made. For many goods, however, expenditure is only “experienced” intermittently while choice occurs at greater frequency. Electricity and water consumption are important examples, but digital tracking has made intermittent billing more commonplace for goods such as toll road access, software downloads, apps and games. Yet we know surprisingly little about how these payment patterns affect decisions. This paper exploits hourly household electricity consumption data collected by “smart” electricity meters to examine consumer behavior under intermittent cost signals, and explores the implications for energy pricing and conservation. We develop a simple dynamic model with time-varying price salience which predicts that households adjust consumption in periods soon after a price reminder but even- eventually revert to habit as price salience fades. We find statistically significant but economically small daily responses to monthly bills. The responses are also asymmetric; lower bills (negative bill shocks) raise subsequent consumption by significantly more than higher bills (positive bill shocks) reduce consumption. These results confirm that price salience is important in consumption decisions, but raise questions about the long-term conservation impact of information-based interventions.
Speaker:  Ben Gilbert is an assistant professor in the department of Economics & Finance at the University of Wyoming. His research interests are in energy conservation, technological change, and the relationship between regulation and the organization of firms. Ben was a NOAA-National Sea Grant fellow and an IGERT fellow in marine biodiversity and conservation. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from the University of California, San Diego and a B.A. in economics and English literature from Whitman College.
 

October 31
Topic: Automaker Responses to CAFE Standards
Abstract: With the latest round of 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, the United States is committed to using standards as the policy instrument to reduce oil consumption and emissions. Yet standards are controversial and their effects on automaker decision-making remain an open question. This paper examines the automaker response to changing CAFE standards and gasoline prices using detailed data on vehicle characteristics 1960-2010. We quantify the tradeoff posed by CAFE standards between fuel economy and desirable vehicle characteristics such as weight and horsepower. We find evidence of an automaker response on several margins: the fuel economy of existing models, the introduction of new models, the dropping of older models, and the pricing of vehicles. We also show that there are clear competitive effects of CAFE. These results clarify how CAFE standards actually work to improve fuel economy and what the implicit tradeoffs from implementing such a policy are.
Speaker: Dr. Gillingham is an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research covers a broad range of issues including environmental and energy economics, industrial organization, public economics, econometrics, technological change, transportation Economics, and climate policy modeling. Dr. Gillingham has an A.B. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, and an M.S. in Statistics, and Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering and Economics from Stanford University.
 

October 23
Topic: Market Failure or Reporting Failure? An Analysis of the Drivers of Variation in the Installed Cost of Residential Photovoltaic Systems
Abstract: The U.S. market for residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems has expanded rapidly in recent years, growing from just over 300 MW of installed PV capacity in 2006 to over 2,800 MW in 2011. This rapid growth in the PV market has been fueled largely by a concurrent decline in the installed cost of PV systems. However, despite this rapid and consistent decline in the average reported cost of PV systems and components, variation in reported PV costs has remained quite large, and by some measures, has even increased, challenging the assumption that the U.S. market for PV has achieved maturity. This study uses an econometric approach to explore what factors are driving this continued variation in the reported costs of residential rooftop PV systems installed in California under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) from 2007 through June 2012. Our findings demonstrate that for majority of systems analyzed, costs were driven by the suite of expected drivers, namely system capacity, system efficiency, module price and labor rate. However, we also found preliminary evidence that installers are participating in non-marginal pricing potentially suggesting a market failure in the California residential PV market.
Speaker: Daniel Steinberg is an energy analyst and member of NREL's Energy Forecasting and Modeling Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center. His areas of expertise include modeling of interactions between climate change and the energy sector, climate change policy analysis, econometrics, and GIS/remote sensing. He has a B.A. in earth and atmospheric sciences from Cornell University and a M.E.Sc in environmental economics and energy analysis from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
 

October 9
Topic: Algorithms for Incremental Facility Location Problems
Abstract: The study involves two algorithms for the facility location problem in an incremental setting. These are problems arising in the design and planning of optical access networks. We first study a 8-competitive algorithm for an incapacitated facility location problem. The algorithm provides a sequence of facilities and customers along with their assignments, which is competitive at every point of the sequence. We then study a branch-and-cut algorithm for an incremental connected facility location problem. We study some valid inequalities, complexity of the separation problem, separation heuristics and methods to strengthen them using sequential lifting. We finally present some computational results.
Speaker: Dr. Ashwin Arulselvan, Institute for Mathematics, Technical University of Berlin. Dr. Ashwin Arulselvan received his PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from University of Florida in 2009. He was a Research Fellow at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Warwick during 2009 and 2010. He has been serving as a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Mathematics at Technical University of Berlin since 2010. His research interest touches several areas of discrete optimization including mixed integer programming and approximation algorithms. He likes working on problems in the field of network design and network flows.
 

September 25
Topic:
 Financial Risk Management
Abstract: In current volatile times, proactively managing financial risk often makes the difference between outstanding project performance and disaster. One core function of today's treasury professionals has become directing shareholder exposure away from uncontrollable risks towards exposure outcomes senior managers have control over. This guest lecture deals with insulating a firm's core business from interest rate and currency exposure through the use of derivatives.
Speaker: Mr. Gavan Duemke, Co-Founder of Hillrose Capital Management, LLC.  Gavan earned an Officer Certificate from the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces, graduated with a BA in Business from Cologne University in Germany and holds an MBA from Oxford University in the UK. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2009 and starting a quantitative commodities hedge fund he lead the European desk at Chatham Financial Europe, a US-based fixed-income derivatives structuring and hedge advisory firm in London with an annual trading volume exceeding $5bn. Gavan advised firms such as The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group and Deutsche Bank on derivatives and personally worked on a combined deal notional exceeding $20bn. In his spare time Gavan values Colorado’s outdoors.
 

September 11
Topic:  Maximum Flow with Minimum Number of Labels (MF-ML)
Abstract: The Maximum Flow Problem is one of the most studied and well applied problems in the last decades. It is important both for its practical applications and since it arises as a subproblem for more complex optimization problems (e.g., min cost flow, matching, covering on bipartite graphs). We have introduced a new problem, namely Maximum Flow with Minimum Number of Labels (MF-ML). The problem consists in finding, on an edge labeled graphs, the maximum flow solution that minimizes the number of different labels. MF-ML belongs to the class of problems defined on labeled (colored) graphs, which has met a growing interest in the last decade. Labeled graphs are used to model situations where it is necessary to represent qualitative differences among different regions of the graph itself. Typically, each label represent a different property (or set of properties) to model. This variant finds its real application in telecommunication, transportation and computer networks among the others.
Speaker: Donatella Granata , post doctoral fellow at the Institute for Application of Calculation “Mauro Picone”, National Research Council, Naples Italy. Her research activity is focused on weighted networks, routing data flows, with several topological configurations and GPU programming. She hold a PhD in Operation Research from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy. 
 

 

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Faculty Short Courses

Below is a list of some of the upcoming short courses offered by the Division of Economics and Business faculty members. We hope you will be able to attend a seminar in the future. Please contact the faculty member directly for more information.

Using Dynamic DCF and Real Options to Value and Manage Mining and Petroleum Projects
Presented by Dr. Graham Davis
http://csmspace.com/events/dynamicdcf/

Economic Evaluation and Investment Decision Methods
Presented by John Stermole and Frank Stermole. 


More information on all short courses can be found at: http://www.mines.edu/outreach/cont_ed/

 

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Last Updated: 04/07/2014 11:01:00