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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 36, Number 4



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Stability versus Sustainability: Energy Policy in the Gulf Monarchies

Jim Krane

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.jkra

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Abstract:
Over the past half-century, production from vast reserves of hydrocarbons has transformed the once destitute Persian Gulf monarchies into developed states with comfortable lifestyles. However, longstanding policies that stimulate energy demand in these states are diverting an ever-larger share of resource production into domestic markets, threatening the region's chief export and biggest contributor to GDP. Five of these six sheikhdoms must soon choose between maintaining energy subsidies and sustaining exports. Rising domestic demand for natural gas, once considered nearly free, has already forced some states to shift to higher-cost resources, including imports. For now, governments have absorbed these costs and insulated consumers from higher prices. This practice only intensifies the pressure on exportable resources. As hydrocarbon production reaches a plateau, domestic consumption will gradually displace exports. Politically difficult reforms that moderate consumption can therefore extend the longevity of exports, and perhaps, the regimes themselves.




Natural Gas Supply Behavior under Interventionism: The Case of Argentina

Diego Barril and Fernando Navajas

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.dbar

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Abstract:
We address the causes behind the significant drop in natural gas production in the 2000s in Argentina, starting from a basic supply model that depends on economic incentives, and adding control variables related to different potential explanations such as firm specific (or area specific) behavior and the role of contractual renegotiation of concessions extensions. Results from a panel data of production areas between 2003 and 2013 show that once a basic supply-past production (or reserve) relationship is modeled, other often mentioned effects become non-significant. Chiefly among them are firm specific effects that were used as a central argument for the nationalization of YPF in 2012. Rather, the evidence shows that the observed downcycle conforms to the prediction of a simple model of depressed economic incentives acting upon mature conventional natural gas fields and hindering investment in reserve additions or new technologies. The results are robust to the nationalization of YPF, after which aggregate production continued a downward trend for two years, although are insufficient to capture an ongoing reconfiguration of incentives and risks in the forthcoming transition to shale gas production.




Analysis of mean and volatility price transmissions in the MIBEL and EPEX electricity spot markets

A Ciarreta and A Zarraga

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.acia

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Abstract:
We use multivariate Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedastic models to assess evidence of electricity market integration between Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France from 7-1-2007 to 2-29-2012. Spillovers and price convergence are used as indicators of integration. Evidence of dynamic conditional correlation is found for the pairs Spain-Portugal, Germany-Austria and Switzerland-Austria. Weak evidence of integration is found between Spain-France and Germany-France since no cross volatility transmissions are estimated. There are increasing price convergence and significant mean and volatility spillovers in the rest of the country pairs. We conclude that the European Union target of achieving a single electricity market depends largely on increasing interconnections and efficient rules of market operation.




Carbon content of electricity futures in Phase II of the EU ETS

Harrison Fell, Beat Hintermann, and Herman Vollebergh

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.hfel

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Abstract:
We estimate the relationship between electricity, fuel and carbonpricesinGermany, France, the Netherlands, the Nord Pool market and Spain, using one-year futures for base and peakload prices for the years 2008-2011, corresponding to physical settlement during the second market phase of the EU ETS. We employ a series of estimation methods that allow for an increasing interactionbetweenelectricityand input prices on the one hand, and between electricity markets on the other. The results vary by country due to different generation portfolios. Overall, we find that (a) carbon costs are passed through fully in most countries; (b) under some model specifications, cost pass-through is higher during peakload than during baseload for France, Germany and the Netherlands; and (c) the results are sensitive to the degree of cross-commodity and cross-market interaction allowed.




How large is the Owner-Renter Divide in Energy Efficient Technology? Evidence from an OECD cross-section

Chandra Kiran B. Krishnamurthy and Bengt Kriström

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.ckri

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Abstract:
When the agent making an investment decision is different from the one bearing the costs of the decision, the outcome (energy usage, here) is socially sub-optimal, a scenario known in the energy efficient technology case as "split incentive" effect. Using a sample of households (from a survey conducted in 2011) from 11 OECD countries, this paper investigates the magnitude of the "split incentive" effect between home occupants who are owners and those who are renters. A wide variety of energy-related "technologies" are considered: appliances, energy efficient bulbs, insulation, heat thermostat, solar panels, ground source heat pumps and wind turbines. Mean difference in patterns of access to these technologies are consistent with the "split incentives" hypothesis. Regression results suggest that, even after controlling for the sizeable differences in observed characteristics, owners are substantially more likely to have access to energy efficient appliances and to better insulation as well as to heat thermostats. For relatively immobile investments such as wind turbines and ground source heat pumps, we find no differences between owners and renters.




Power System Transformation toward Renewables: An Evaluation of Regulatory Approaches for Network Expansion

Jonas Egerer, Juan Rosellón, and Wolf-Peter Schill

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.jege

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Abstract:
We analyze various regulatory regimes for electricity transmission investment in the context of a power system transformation toward renewable energy. Distinctive developments of the generation mix are studied, assuming that a shift toward renewables may have temporary or permanent impacts on network congestion. We specifically analyze the relative performance of a combined merchant-regulatory price-cap mechanism, a cost-based rule, and a non-regulated approach in dynamic generation settings. We find that incentive regulation may perform better than cost-based regulation but only when appropriate weights are used. While quasi-ideal weights generally restore the beneficial properties that incentive regulatory mechanisms are well-known for, pure Laspeyres weights may either lead to over-investment or delayed investments as compared to the welfare-optimum benchmark. Laspeyres-Paasche weights, in turn, seem appropriate under permanently or temporarily increased network congestion. Thus, our analysis provides motivation for further research in order to characterize optimal regulation for transmission expansion in the context of renewable integration.




A System Of Hourly Demand in the Italian Electricity Market

Simona Bigerna and Carlo Andrea Bollino

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.sbig

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The purpose of this paper is to analyze and test demand behavior in the organized electricity market. According to a theoretical framework of heterogeneous agents' behavior, we estimate a complete multi-stage system weakly separable using individual demand bid data in the Italian Power Exchange. The novel contribution of this paper is twofold. Firstly, we model hourly demand of heterogeneous groups of agents acting in the Italian electricity market with a simultaneous system for all 24 hours. Secondly, we empirically measure the entire structure of expenditure elasticities and cross price elasticities for all 24 hours of the day, ascertaining whether hourly electricity demands can be considered normal or luxury goods and substitutes or complements in an organized electricity market. Econometric estimation shows that price elasticity tends to be higher when hourly price peak. Moreover, electricity exhibits both substitutability and complementarity characteristic in different hours of the day, the former during the day and the latter during the night. Electricity appears to be a normal good during nighttime and a luxury good during daytime. The demand structure has welfare improving policy implications, because appropriate regulation can favor consumer behavior adjustment to shave consumption away from peak prices, thus yielding lower aggregate equilibrium expenditures. To this end, we advocate reforming the actual administered two-price tariff structure to introduce real time pricing options for Italian final users.




Now or Later? Trading Wind Power Closer to Real Time And How Poorly Designed Subsidies Lead to Higher Balancing Costs

Johannes Mauritzen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.jmau

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Abstract:
Simulation studies have pointed to the advantages of trading closer to real-time with large amounts of wind power. Using Danish data, I show that, as expected, shortfalls increase the probability of trade on the short-term market, Elbas. But in the period studied between 2010 and 2012 surpluses are shown to decrease the probability of trade. This unexpected result is likely explained by wind power policies that discourage trading on Elbas and lead to unnecessarily high balancing costs. I use a rolling-windows regression to support this claim.




Residential End-use Electricity Demand: Development over Time

Hanne Marit Dalen and Bodil M. Larsen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.hdal

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It is costly and difficult to meter electricity consumption for different end uses, e.g. space heating, lighting and household appliances. We deduce a model for using cross-sectional data for total annual electricity consumption for a sample of households, together with information from energy surveys, to estimate the end uses within an econometric demand model conditional on appliance ownership. By applying a consistent method to Norwegian data for 1990, 2001 and 2006 (repeated cross-sections), we compare results over time and detect possible trends. We find that electricity consumption for many end use necessities such as washing, water heating and refrigeration varies somewhat from year to year, but they show no trend. We find a steady increase in electricity used for more untraditional end uses and newer types of appliances. Total energy consumption for heating purposes is quite stable over the time period.




Developing a Smart Grid that Customers can Afford: The Impact of Deferrable Demand

Wooyoung Jeon, Jung Youn Mo, and Timothy D. Mount

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.wjeo

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Abstract:
With more electricity generated from renewable sources, the importance of effective storage capacity is increasing due to its capability to mitigate the inherent variability of these sources, such as wind and solar power. However, the cost of dedicated storage is high and all customers eventually have to pay. Deferrable demand offers an alternative form of storage that is potentially less expensive because the capital cost is shared between providing an energy service and supporting the grid. This paper presents an empirical analysis to illustrate the beneficial effects of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and thermal storage on the total system cost using data for a hot summer day in New York City. The analysis shows how customers can reduce total system costs and their bills by 1) shifting load from expensive peak periods to less expensive off-peak periods, 2) reducing the amount of installed conventional generating capacity needed to maintain System Adequacy, and 3) providing ramping services to mitigate the variability of generation from renewable sources. Moreover, this paper demonstrates economic benefits of different types of customers with different deferrable demand capabilities under two bill payment policies, flat price payment and optimum price payment, and it finally shows how long it takes for customers to fully pay back their initial capital costs of PHEV or thermal storage under two different policies.




The Implicit Carbon Price of Renewable Energy Incentives in Germany

Claudio Marcantonini, A. Denny Ellerman

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.cmar

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Abstract:
This research analyzes the German experience in promoting Renewable Energy (RE) as an instrument to reduce GHG emissions. It identifies the cost of reducing CO2 emissions in the power sector through the promotion of wind and solar energy for the years 2006-2010. A RE carbon surcharge and an implicit carbon price due to the RE incentives are calculated. The RE carbon surcharge is the ratio of the net cost of the RE over the CO2 emission reductions resulting from actual RE injections into the electric power system. The implicit carbon price is the sum of the RE carbon surcharge and the EUA price. Results show that for the period analyzed both the RE carbon surcharge and the implicit carbon price of wind are on the order of tens of euro per tonne of CO2, while for solar are on the order of hundreds of euro per tonne of CO2.




A New Perspective: Investment and Efficiency under Incentive Regulation

Rahmatallah Poudineh and Tooraj Jamasb

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.rpou

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Abstract:
Following the liberalisation of the electricity industry since the early 1990s, many sector regulators have adopted incentive regulation aided by benchmarking and productivity analysis. This approach has often resulted in efficiency and quality of service improvement. However, there remains a growing concern as to whether the utilities invest sufficiently and efficiently in maintaining and modernising their networks. This paper studies the relationship between investments and cost efficiency in the context of incentive regulation with ex-post regulatory treatment of investments using a panel dataset of 129 Norwegian distribution companies from 2004 to 2010. We introduce the concept of "no impact efficiency" as a revenue-neutral efficiency effect of investment under incentive regulation that makes a firm "investment efficient" in cost benchmarking. Also, we estimate the observed efficiency effect of investments and compare these with the no impact efficiency. Finally, we discuss the implications of cost benchmarking for investment behaviour of network companies.




Shale Gas Boom Affecting the Relationship Between LPG and Oil Prices

Atle Oglend, Morten E. Lindbäck, and Petter Osmundsen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.aogl

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Abstract:
Liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) together with other natural gas liquids (NGLs) have played an important role in the current U.S. shale gas boom. Depressed gas prices in recent years have made pure natural gas operations less profitable. The result is that liquids components in gas production have become increasingly important in ensuring the profitability of shale gas operations. In this paper we investigate whether the shale gas expansion, which has led to an increase in associated LPG production, has also affected the historically strong relationship between LPG and oil prices. Revealing the strength and stability of the LPG/oil relationship is relevant when it comes to the future profitability and development of the U.S. natural gas sector. Our results suggest that the LPG/oil relationship has weakened in recent years with a move towards cheaper liquids relative to oil. This is consistent with developments in the natural gas sector with increased liquids production. A consequence is that U.S. natural gas operations cannot automatically rely on high liquids prices to ensure profitability.




The Impact of Electricity Sector Restructuring on Coal-fired Power Plants in India

Kabir Malik, Maureen Cropper, Alexander Limonov and Anoop Singh

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.kmal

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Abstract:
We examine whether the unbundling of generation from transmission and distribution services at state-owned power plants in India improved operating efficiency at these power plants. Between 1995 and 2009, 85 percent of coal-based generation capacity owned by state governments was unbundled from vertically integrated State Electricity Boards into state generating companies. We find that generating units in states that unbundled before the Electricity Act of 2003 experienced reductions in forced outages of about 25% and improvements in availability of about 10%, with the largest results occurring 3-5 years after unbundling. We find no evidence of improvements in thermal efficiency at state-owned power plants due to unbundling.




Market power in Norwegian electricity market: Are the transmission bottlenecks truly exogenous?

Faisal Mehmood Mirza, Olvar Bergland

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.fmir

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Abstract:
In this paper, we test whether producers in the southern Norway price zone utilize information on available transmission capacity to induce transmission congestion in their price zone to exercise market power or not. Endogeneity results for import congestion suggest that congestion is endogenous during late night and morning hours implying that producers in southern Norway restrict their output to induce transmission congestion into their price zone. We find an average markup of about 19.5 percent above the marginal cost during these hours. These results point that NordPool's policy of making transmission capacity information public to ensure market transparency is not welfare maximizing as strategic producers can use this information to anticipate and induce transmission congestion into their price zone for driving prices away from the competitive levels.




Renewable Electricity Policy and Market Integration

Thomas P. Tangerås

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.ttan

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Abstract:
I analyze renewable electricity policy in a multinational electricity market with transmission investment. If national policy makers choose support schemes to maximize domestic welfare, a trade policy motive arises operating independently of any direct benefit of renewable electricity. The model predicts electricity importing (exporting) countries to choose policies which reduce (increase) electricity prices. A narrow pursuit of domestic objectives distorts transmission investment, and thereby market integration, below the efficient level. Distortions cannot be corrected by imposing national renewable targets alone. Instead, subsidies to transmission investment and a harmonization of and reduction in the number of policy instruments can improve welfare.