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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 32, Number 4

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Economics of Pricing the Cost of Carbon Dioxide Restrictions in the Production of Electricity

Dagobert L. Brito and Robert F. Curl

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-2
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We calculate the cost of a carbon dioxide constraint in the production of electricity by modeling the replacement of coal generators with natural gas generators. We find: First, replacing coal generators with natural gas generators is the most economical way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent. Second, replacing existing coal generation capacity with modern coal generation plants can only reduce total carbon dioxide by 5 percent. Third, the distribution of the efficiency of coal generators in the United States restricts the range over which carbon dioxide prices effectively manage the displacement of coal by gas. Fourth, the narrow range for the price of carbon dioxide creates the possibility that a market in carbon dioxide permits will result in high volatility in the market for electricity. Fifth, the carbon prices implied by the transition from coal to gas will have very little impact on transportation fuels.

Carbon Leakage from the Clean Development Mechanism

Knut Einar Rosendahl and Jon Strand

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-3
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The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an offset mechanism designed to reduce the overall cost of implementing a given target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in industrialized Annex B countries of the Kyoto Protocol, by shifting some of the emission reductions to Non-Annex B countries. This paper analyzes how CDM projects may lead to leakage of emissions elsewhere in Non-Annex B countries. Leakage occurs because emissions reductions under a CDM project may affect market equilibrium in regional and/or global energy and product markets, and thereby increase emissions elsewhere. We also account for potential reverse or negative leakage effects in Non-Annex B from higher emissions cap in Annex B. Our conclusion is that net leakage typically is positive and sizeable, thus leading to an overall increase in global GHG emissions when CDM projects are undertaken. Leakage is greater when the different fossil fuel markets are more segregated.

Climate Policy & Corporate Behavior

Nicola Commins, Seán Lyons, Marc Schiffbauer, and Richard S.J. Tol

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-4
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In this paper, we study the impact of energy taxes and the EU ETS on a large number of firms in Europe between 1996 and 2007. Using company level micro-data, we examine how firms in different sectors were affected by environmental policies. Aspects of behavior and performance studied include total factor productivity, employment levels, investment behavior and profitability. On the whole, energy taxes increased total factor productivity and returns to capital but decreased employment, with a mixed effect on investment, for the sectors included in our analysis. However, large sectoral variation is observed, with some industries losing out in terms of productivity and profitability when faced with increased energy taxes, while others benefitted.

Understanding the Crude Oil Price: How Important Is the China Factor?

Xiaoyi Mu and Haichun Ye

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-5
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This paper employs monthly data on China's net oil import from January 1997 to June 2010 to assess the role of China's net import in the evolution of the crude oil price. Based on a vector autoregression (VAR) analysis, we find that the growth of China's net oil import has no significant impact on monthly oil price changes and there is no Granger causality between the two variables. The historical decomposition indicates that shocks to China's oil demand have only played a small role in the oil price run-up of 2002-2008. We also calculate the price changes implied by China's net oil import growth from a longer-term supply and demand shift perspective.

Electric Utility Demand Side Management in Canada

Nic Rivers and Mark Jaccard

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-6
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Government, utility, and private subsidies for energy efficiency play a prominent role in current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet the effectiveness of this policy approach is in dispute. One opportunity for empirical analysis is provided by the past energy efficiency subsidies, called demand-side management programs, offered by electric utilities in North America over several decades. Between 1990 and 2005, most electric utilities in Canada administered such programs, with total spending of $2.9 billion (CDN$2005). This paper uses the significant inter-annual variation in demand side management spending during this period to econometrically estimate the effectiveness of these subsidies. The resulting estimates indicate that these programs have not had a substantial impact on overall electricity consumption in Canada.

A Game Theoretic Model for Generation Capacity Adequacy: Comparison Between Investment Incentive Mechanisms in Electricity Markets

Mohamed Haikel Khalfallah

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-7
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In this paper we study the problem of long-term capacity adequacy in electricity markets. We implement a dynamic model in which firms compete for investment and electricity production under imperfect Cournot competition. The main aim of this work is to compare three investment incentive mechanisms: reliability options, forward capacity market and capacity payments. Apart from the oligopoly case, we also analyze collusion and monopoly cases. Dynamic programming is used to deal with the stochastic environment of the market and mixed complementarity problem and variational inequality formulations are employed to find a solution to the game. The main finding of this study is that market-based mechanisms would be the most cost-efficient mechanism for assuring long-term system capacity adequacy. Moreover, generators would exert market power when introducing capacity payments. Finally, compared with a Cournot oligopoly, collusion and monopolistic situations lead to more installed capacities with market-based mechanisms and increase consumers' payments.

The Cost Structure of Regional Transmission Organizations

Daniel Greenfield and John Kwoka

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-8
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RTOs now cover well over one-half of customers and sales of electricity in the U.S. As they have expanded in geographic coverage and functional scope, controversies have arisen about their rapidly growing costs and overall effectiveness. We model their costs, exploiting the fact that the seven existing RTOs initiated their various functions at different points in time over their roughly ten-year history. Specifically, we investigate the costs of each of the market functions administered by RTOs, the relative costliness of different RTOs in performing the same functions, the possibility of learning economies from either their individual or industry-wide experience, and economies of scale over the sampled range of RTO "output." Our results confirm the importance of some of these factors but raise doubts about others, in all cases based on systematic modeling and data analysis.

A Dynamic Oligopolistic Electricity Market with Interdependent Market Segments

Pierre-Olivier Pineau, Hasina Rasata, and Georges Zaccour

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No4-9
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We propose a deterministic, discrete-time, finite-horizon oligopoly model to investigate investment and production equilibrium strategies, in a setting where demand evolves over time and the two market-segment loads (peak-and base-load) are interdependent. The players (generators) compete a` la Cournot, open-loop Nash equilibria are computed and numerical results are discussed. The model is calibrated with data from Ontario, Canada. We assess the impact on equilibrium strategies of a generation sector with more market power than what is actually the case. We also find a slight difference in the investment sequence when interdependent demand segments are considered. Finally, we analyze the impact of increasing demand elasticities over time, and varying the financial values of the production capacities that remain at the end of the planning horizon. We believe that such a tool is valuable for professionals and scholars interested in the dynamics of production capacity mix (portfolio of technologies) in the electricity sector. It is also of paramount importance for public decision makers who have to simultaneously deal with environmental issues and with price control, both of which are politically sensitive.