Jha’s research interests lie at the intersection of energy and environmental economics and industrial organization. His research uses a combination of economic modeling and causal inference techniques to quantify the economic and environmental costs and benefits of a wide range of policies impacting wholesale electricity supply. In recent work, he has examined the introduction of financial trading to California’s wholesale electricity market, the phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, the dramatic growth of rooftop solar capacity in Western Australia, and the determinants of electricity blackouts in India.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Wholesale Electricity Supply
Media Appearances (5)
By 2025, coal will no longer be the main way to generate the world’s electricity
And legislation passed this year in Congress could accelerate those trends even more, said Akshaya Jha at Carnegie Mellon University. “So the Inflation Reduction Act has the potential to bring, bring that sort of innovation for other products that we currently don’t think of as being cost effective,” Jha said.
US embassies may have accidentally improved air quality
Ars Technica online
Something unexpected happened in each of the cities in which the monitors appeared. Researchers found that, overall, air quality improved in the cities where embassies were tweeting out air-quality data. “We were surprised,” Akshaya Jha, assistant professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and one of the paper’s authors, told Ars.
Real-time air quality monitoring can save lives
“Poor air quality is a leading cause of premature death worldwide, responsible for one out of every nine deaths,” said study lead author Akshaya Jha, an assistant professor of Economics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon. “Sharing credible air quality information can highlight this issue and have huge health and economic benefits that far outweigh the costs of the monitoring technology.”
Is Putin's War Pushing World Toward Nuclear Energy?
Assistant professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University Akshaya Jha, who co-authored a paper on Germany's shift away from nuclear energy, told Newsweek that the question might not be one of economic viability, but of political will. And that paradigm shift, he added, is likely still a long time coming, going hand-in-hand with the broader adoption of other renewable energy sources.
How real-time data can curb air pollution and save more lives
The Mandarin online
One of the study co-authors, Dr Akshaya Jha from Carnegie Mellon University, said poor air quality was a leading cause of premature death worldwide, being responsible for one out of every nine deaths.
Industry Expertise (2)
Heinz College Martcia Wade Teaching Award (professional)
Winner of the USAEE Young Professional Research Competition (professional)
Undergraduate Economics Program Academic Achievement Award (professional)
Campbell Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University (professional)
Editor’s Choice in January 2022 for “Regulatory Induced Risk Aversion" (professional)
Stanford University: Ph.D., Economics
Carnegie Mellon University: B.S., Economics and Statistics
Event Appearances (1)
Keeping The Lights On Is Harder Than You Think: President Biden’s Energy Policy
(2022) Trillion Dollar Questions Heinz College
Can forward commodity markets improve spot market performance? Evidence from wholesale electricityAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy
2023 Forward markets are believed to aggregate information about future spot prices and reduce the cost of producing the commodity. We develop a measure of the extent to which forward and spot prices agree in markets with transaction costs. Using this measure, we show that day-ahead prices better reflect real-time prices at all locations in California’s electricity market after the introduction of financial trading. We then present evidence suggesting that operating costs and input fuel use fell after the introduction of financial trading on days when the nonconvexities inherent to the production and transmission of electricity are especially relevant.
The private and external costs of Germany’s nuclear phase-outJournal of the European Economic Association
2022 Many countries have phased out nuclear power in response to concerns about nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear accidents. This paper examines the shutdown of more than half of the nuclear production capacity in Germany after the Fukushima accident in 2011. We use hourly data on power plant operations and a machine learning approach to estimate the impacts of the phase-out policy. We find that reductions in nuclear electricity production were offset primarily by increases in coal-fired production and net electricity imports. Our estimates of the social cost of the phase-out range from €3 to €8 billion per year. The majority of this cost comes from the increased mortality risk associated with exposure to the local air pollution emitted when burning fossil fuels
Regulatory Induced Risk Aversion in Coal Contracting at US Power Plants: Implications for Environmental PolicyJournal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
2022 Seminal work argues that electric utilities sign long-term contracts with coal suppliers prior to making relationship-specific investments in order to avoid the possibility of ex post hold-up. This paper provides empirical evidence that risk aversion also plays an important role in the coal contracting behavior of US power plants. Specifically, I show that plants facing more spot coal price uncertainty sign longer duration coal contracts, purchase contract coal from a larger number of origin counties, and pay higher contract coal prices. One plausible mechanism for this risk aversion is that regulators are less likely to incorporate high input cost realizations into the regulated output price they set for electric utilities.
Considering the nuclear option: Hidden benefits and social costs of nuclear power in the US since 1970Resource and Energy Economics
2020 Although burning fossil fuels has environmental consequences, many countries have switched away from nuclear power in favor of fossil-fuel fired electricity production after incidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. This study estimates the substitution between nuclear and fossil-fuel fired electricity generation in the United States. Using an event-study framework, we leverage nuclear plant openings from 1970 to 1995 and forced nuclear plant outages from 1999 to 2014. Plant openings (nuclear outages) reduce (increase) monthly net coal-fired generation by approximately 200 GWh, implying a considerable reduction (increase) in emissions.
External costs of transporting petroleum products: evidence from shipments of crude oil from North Dakota by pipelines and railThe Energy Journal
2019 Using data for crude oil transported out of North Dakota in 2014, this paper constructs new estimates of the air pollution, greenhouse gas, and spill and accident costs from long-distance movement of petroleum products by rail and pipelines. Our analysis has three main findings. First, air pollution and greenhouse gas costs are nearly twice as large for rail as for pipelines. Second, air pollution and greenhouse gas costs are much larger than estimates of spill and accidents costs. Third, air pollution and greenhouse gas costs of transporting fuel by rail and pipelines are one-fifth to one-tenth of the costs of combusting fuel in motor vehicles.