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The Energy Journal
Volume 37, Bollino-Madlener Special Issue







Market Design for Long-Distance Trade in Renewable Electricity

Richard Green, Danny Pudjianto, Iain Staffell and Goran Strbac

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.agia
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Abstract:
While the 2009 EU Renewables Directive allows countries to purchase some of their obligation from another member state, no country has yet done so, preferring to invest locally even where load factors are very low. If countries specialised in renewables most suited to their own endowments and expanded international trade, we estimate that system costs in 2030 could be reduced by 5%, or €15 billion a year, after allowing for the costs of extra transmission capacity, peaking generation and balancing operations needed to maintain electrical feasibility. Significant barriers must be overcome to unlock these savings. Countries that produce more renewable power should be compensated for the extra cost through tradable certificates, while those that buy from abroad will want to know that the power can be imported when needed. Financial Transmission Rights could offer companies investing abroad confidence that the power can be delivered to their consumers. They would hedge short-term fluctuations in prices and operate much more flexibly than the existing system of physical point-to-point rights on inter-connectors. Using FTRs to generate revenue for transmission expansion could produce perverse incentives to under-invest and raise their prices, so revenues from FTRs should instead be offset against payments under the existing ENTSOE compensation scheme for transit flows. FTRs could also facilitate cross-border participation in capacity markets, which are likely to be needed to reduce risks for the extra peaking plants required.




Power markets with Renewables: New perspectives for the European Target Model

Karsten Neuhoff, Sophia Wolter and Sebastian Schwenen

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.2.kneu
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Abstract:
We discuss at the European example how power market design evolves with increasing shares of intermittent renewables. Short-term markets and system operation have to accommodate for the different needs of renewable and conventional generation assets and flexibility options. This can be achieved by pooling resources over larger geographic areas through common auction platforms, realizing the full flexibility of different assets based on multi-part bids while efficiently allocating scarce network resources. For investment and re-investment choices different technology groups like wind and solar versus fossil fuel based generation may warrant a different treatment - reflecting differing levels of publicly accessible information, requirements for grid infrastructure, types of strategic choices relevant for the sector and shares of capital cost in overall generation costs. We discuss opportunities for such a differentiated treatment while maintaining synergies in short-term system operation.




Regulatory Options for Local Reserve Energy Markets: Implications for Prosumers, Utilities, and other Stakeholders

Christiane Rosen and Reinhard Madlener

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.cros
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Abstract:
While the share of fluctuating renewable energy resources is constantly increasing, the centralized, hierarchical organization of the current energy system and markets cannot adequately accommodate such decentralized electricity generation. New ideas have been developed and discussed for improved integration, also in Germany, one of the lead markets. Examples in this context are virtual power plants and microgrids. This paper presents a new local reserve energy market design (applied to residential households), which can facilitate the operation and allow trading within these constructs. Emphasis is put on the regulatory options and current market framework, mainly from a European and a German perspective, which serve as a basis for implementing the local market. It can be shown that using existing regulatory structures, a local market with simple rules (comparable to an "energy-eBay") can be easily installed.




Optimal Price Design in the Wholesale Electricity Market

Simona Bigerna and Carlo Andrea Bollino

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.sbig
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Abstract:
In this paper, we construct an optimal price design mechanism to determine the equilibrium in the day-ahead electricity market, specifically aimed at solving the uncomfortable conflict between conventional thermal sources (CTS) and renewable energy sources (RES). We find that the actual hourly market design is inadequate to achieve an efficient solution in the presence of a large and increasing share of RES. It is not conducive to catalyzing the correct price signal for future investments and does not take into account welfare considerations. Our proposal for a new market design is based on three main pillars. We state pro-competitive incentives to CTS participation in the market. We take into full account the opportunity cost of RES for society and propose correct price signals on the demand side through an optimal Ramsey pricing scheme. We show an empirical application to the Italian electricity market, using empirical measures of LCOE for RES and empirical estimation of heterogeneous buyers' behavior. The results show improvement in efficiency and welfare in the Italian electricity market with respect to the existing zonal market prices for suppliers and uniform price for buyers.




Can current electricity markets cope with high shares of renewables? A comparison of approaches in Germany, the UK and the State of New York

Michael G. Pollitt and Karim L. Anaya

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.mpol
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Abstract:
This paper looks at the empirical and theoretical background to high shares of renewables in the electricity system. First we examine what is meant by "high shares" of renewables; next we consider what we mean by electricity "markets"; then we discuss what the term "cope with" implies; before returning to the suitability of "current" electricity markets. Second, we turn to three examples of jurisdictions - Germany, the UK and the State of New York in the US - with specific aspirations for decarbonisation and the role of renewables. Each exhibits very different approaches to the way they are adjusting their electricity market design to cope with high shares of renewables. We suggest that a new wave of electricity experiments is beginning around the theme of how to incorporate large shares of intermittent renewable generation in to electricity systems.




Renewable Electricity and Backup Capacities: An (Un-) Resolvable Problem?

Aaron Praktiknjo and Georg Erdmann

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.apra
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Abstract:
Public support for renewables has led to an unexpected investment momentum in Germany. A consequence is a reduction in wholesale electricity prices, the so-called merit order effect of renewables. We estimate this reduction using an econometric approach and provide a quantitative overview of the financial situation of conventional generators. Our results indicate that investments in new conventional capacities are economically unviable. With the current market design, this situation is going to impact supply security, at least in the long run. A popular approach to address this issue is the introduction of additional public support for conventional power plants. However, we believe that subsidizing renewable and conventional capacities contradicts the idea of a liberal market. We present two alternatives: State control of investments in renewables through auctions (as proposed by the European Commission), and a premium paid to representatives of the demand side (such as retailers) in dependence of their shares of renewables.




Investment in Renewables under Uncertainty: Fitting a Feed-in Scheme into ETS

Federico Boffa, Stefano Clò, and Alessio D'Amato

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.fbof
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Abstract:
We analyze incentives to invest in renewable energy technologies induced by the overlap of two types of policies: feed-in schemes and carbon mitigation instruments. We find that results differ markedly depending on the specific types of policies in place, reflecting different impacts of uncertainty. As a result, the recent reform to the EU-ETS system that has established the Market Stability Reserve (MSR), effective in 2019, requires to appropriately fine-tune the direct RES-E support schemes. We show that this may involve moving away from feed-in tariffs towards feed-in premia. Our results suggest that the schemes currently adopted in Germany and in Italy, broadly based on feed-in premia for large generators and on feed-in tariffs for the small ones, could well fit also the post-MSR EU carbon mitigation policy. To the contrary, other countries (e.g. France and the U.K.) may have to modify their support schemes as the MSR will become operational.




Renewable Energy and Market Power in the Italian Electricity Market

Simona Bigerna, Carlo Andrea Bollino and Paolo Polinori

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.ppol
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Abstract:
The Italian electricity market has been characterized by a remarkable increase of renewable energy source (RES) supply since 2010, which has determined relevant structural changes in the electric system. Noticeably, during favorable weather conditions, such as sunny or windy hours, increasing supply of RES generation exerts a downward pressure to the formation of the equilibrium price in the market and at the same time forces an increase in line congestion. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether such RES increase has affected the exercise of market power in the Italian Power Exchange (IPEX), explicitly considering transmission line congestion. We employ our approach to construct the residual demand curve and to disentangle the measure of the unilateral market power from the congestion rent. We compute the zonal Lerner index during the period 2009 to 2013 for the main generators in the Italian day-ahead market and we analyze the correlation among market power, congestion and RES supply. In particular, we investigate whether RES development has affected congestion and firm's strategic behavior, empirically testing whether structural changes have occurred in market power or in congestion rent. Our results show that the exercise of market power has been considerably weakened during peak hours by the massive competition of RES, but it has been surprisingly reinforced in specific off-peak hours, in the absence of solar RES and in specific zones, where congestion yields market splitting. These findings support pro-competitive market regulation and reform strategies, and shed light on the impact of RES and congestion on market outcomes.




The Influence of Policy Regime Risks on Investments in Innovative Energy Technology

Ernesto Garnier and Reinhard Madlener

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.egar
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Abstract:
This paper dissects the ways in which policy regime risks influence decisions over innovative energy technology investments. We apply compound real options methodology to evaluate the investment in a virtual power plant platform and distributed energy resource (DER) assets in view of volatile electricity market prices and an uncertain future electricity market design. The analysis reveals two aspects of policy regime risks: a policy content effect relating to actual market dynamics resulting from a (new) policy regime, and a policy process effect relating to (uncertainty about) the speed and probability of a regime change. The paper underlines the importance of predictable policymaking to stimulate risky investment. It further details the need to account for technology-specific investment responses to different policy regimes and risks, caused by different degrees of market versus subsidy exposure and differences between platform versus non-platform technologies.




The Impact of RES in the Italian Day–Ahead and Balancing Markets

Angelica Gianfreda, Lucia Parisio and Matteo Pelagatti

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.agia
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Abstract:
We empirically investigate the effect of RES generation on the Italian spot and regulation prices by examining price dynamics from 2012 to 2014 in day-ahead, intra-daily and balancing market sessions. Intra-day sessions are particularly valuable for intermittent generators willing to adjust their production programs as better weather forecasts become available. We model the relationships among spot, adjustment and regulation prices and provide empirical evidence that the intra-daily sessions are well-functioning and low-cost market tools to ease the introduction of a high share of RES. Conventional production units may bid on all market sessions but we estimate high and significant premia of readiness earned on real-time sessions. Further, we evaluate the relationship among price differences, observed between regulation and spot markets and the amount of wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal production in all Italian zones, generally finding a positive and significant effect on premia.




Level versus Variability Trade-offs in Wind and Solar Generation Investments: The Case of California

Frank A. Wolak

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.fwol
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Abstract:
Hourly plant-level wind and solar generation output and real-time price data for one year from the California ISO control area is used to estimate the vector of means and the contemporaneous covariance matrix of hourly output and revenues across all wind and solar locations in the state. Annual hourly output and annual hourly revenues mean/standard deviation efficient frontiers for wind and solar resource locations are computed from this information. For both efficient frontiers, economically meaningful differences between portfolios on the efficient frontier and the actual wind and solar generation capacity mix are found. The relative difference is significantly larger for aggregate hourly output relative to aggregate hourly revenues, consistent with expected profit-maximizing unilateral entry decisions by renewable resource owners. Most of the hourly output and hourly revenue risk-reducing benefits from the optimal choice of locational generation capacities is captured by a small number of wind resource locations, with the addition of a small number of solar resource locations only slightly increasing the set of feasible portfolio mean and standard deviation combinations. Measures of non-diversifiable wind and solar energy output and revenue risk are computed using the actual market portfolio and the risk-adjusted expected hourly output or hourly revenue maximizing portfolios.




Integration of Renewables into the Ontario Electricity System

Brian Rivard and Adonis Yatchew

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.briv
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Abstract:
The Ontario electricity industry has a 'hybrid' structure: electricity is bought and sold in a competitive wholesale electricity market while supply mix planning and procurement are conducted through a government agency. Most generation is secured through long-term contracts. Aggressive renewable energy programs have led to rapidly growing renewable capacity, mainly wind generation. Coal-fired generation has been eliminated and electricity sales have dropped. The competitive hourly market price has declined and there is a clear merit-order effect: an increase of wind generation from 500 MW to 1500 MW can be expected to decrease price by 7 CAD/MWh. However, the all-in price, which incorporates contractually guaranteed supply prices, has risen from about 60 to 100 CAD/MWh between 2009 and 2014. Operational and market integration of renewable resources has been achieved relatively smoothly. The procurement process is over-centralized: increased reliance on market discipline and greater separation between governmental policy makers and regulators would enhance both the efficacy and efficiency of decarbonization policies.




The Rise of Third Parties and the Fall of Incumbents Driven by Large-Scale Integration of Renewable Energies: The Case of Germany

Gert Brunekreeft, Marius Buchmann, and Roland Meyer

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.gbru
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Abstract:
The energy transition is dramatically changing the electricity supply industry in Germany implying two big trends. First, significant market entry by third parties (i.e., non-incumbents). Based on empirical evidence, we argue that the emergence of third parties is the immediate result of the large-scale integration of renewable energy sources. The electricity supply industry is changing quickly from a top-down, single-firm game to a decentralized multiple-player system, with far-reaching consequences for the governance and regulatory structure. Second, the incumbent players are facing disruptive challenges: under pressure of the energy transition, conventional centralized generation is losing profit margins very quickly. We analyze the disruptive challenges and sketch how the incumbents respond by splitting their activities into an old business, which is likely to be phased-out, and a new, future-oriented business: renewable energies, the distribution business, and customer-oriented solutions.




Grid parity of solar energy: imminent fact or future's fiction

Spiros Papaefthimiou, Manolis Souliotis, and Kostas Andriosopoulos

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI2.spap
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Abstract:
One of the major questions related to renewable energy systems is whether we are approaching solar grid parity or not. Solar based power generation will play an important role in future sustainable energy mixes due to its high reliability, yield predictability and capacity for electricity production during peak demand when the electricity price is usually high. But nowadays the economic viability of these technologies depends on the subsidies usually granted, mainly by public authorities, and in a minor way by electricity producers. The article evaluates the potential of solar energy based technologies for viable electricity generation, focusing on Photovoltaics (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems. The evaluation was not only focused on EU but also covered global markets, assessing the necessary barriers and thresholds preventing or boosting these technologies to reach grid parity. The observed rapid growth in deployment of the studied technologies (especially PV) in recent years is largely policy-driven and whether this trend will be sustainable depends on whether governments will continue to expand financial incentives and policy mandates, as well as address regulatory and market barriers. Keywords: Solar energy, Grid parity, Photovoltaics, Concentrated Solar Power systems.