Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Distributional Effects of Energy Transition: Impacts of Renewable Electricity Support in Germany

The discussion of the support for renewable energy must consider the distributional impact of cost allocation. The public is sensitive to social imbalances caused by rising power prices that might jeopardize the acceptance of energy transformation. By the end of 2012 about 19 percent of German power is produced with renewables other than hydropower. As a result, German consumers will pay for global learning investment through their electricity bill. We explore the distributional implications for households using household micro data. In 2013 households will allocate 2.5% of consumption expenditure to electricity. The increase to previous years was much debated in fall of 2012, but is not without precedent. In the mid-1980s the share was 2.3%. The effect is more significant for poor households, which allocate 4.5% of expenditure for power. We propose three options how to address this distributional impact: adjusted transfers, reduced electricity taxes, and, most effectively, support to improve energy efficiency. Keywords: Distributional effects, Power prices, Renewable energy, Compensation mechanisms
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JEL Codes:H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies, P18: Energy; Environment, Q42: Alternative Energy Sources

Keywords: Distributional effects, Power prices, Renewable energy, Compensation mechanisms

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.2.1.3

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Published in Volume 2, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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