Job Market Paper

What matters for the racial disparity in clean heating technology adoption? Evidence from U.S. heat pumps 

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Abstract: A growing body of literature has documented that minority groups have installed fewer clean energy technologies, but the varying extent of this adoption gap and its underlying causes remain less understood. This study utilizes household-level demographic and property data to explore the racial disparity in air source heat pump adoption in nine U.S. East Coast states. I quantify the heat pump adoption gap between White and minority households at the ZIP code level, and then use a machine learning approach to decompose the contributors to the racial disparity. The gap in building age is the most important contributor, followed by income gap, cooling degree days, and natural gas prices or access. The importance of building age persists even when conditioning on income, possibly due to historic or contemporary discrimination in housing markets. The study also provides causal evidence that an increase in heating and cooling demand and natural gas prices can widen the racial gap in heat pump adoption. Policies may not necessarily alleviate the gap though. Loan programs slightly reduce the gap, while small rebate programs widen the racial gap.

Selected Working Papers

Abstract: Distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity has increased dramatically, but their effect on local distribution networks is still unclear. This paper estimates the effect of distributed solar generation on distribution networks, utilizing unique, detailed, proprietary data from individual solar installations and their specific generation, as well as the loading of connected feeders.

Peer-reviewed Papers