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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 38, Number 2

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Integration in Gasoline and Ethanol Markets in Brazil over Time and Space under the Flex-fuel Technology

Hector M. Nuñez and Jesús Otero

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.hnun
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We employ a pair-wise approach to analyse regional integration in the gasoline and ethanol markets in Brazil. Using weekly price data for these two fuels at the state level over a period of almost ten years, we find that more than half of the fuel price differentials are stationary, which reveals the importance of allowing for spatial considerations when testing for market integration. We also find that the speed at which prices converge to the long-run equilibrium depends upon the distance between states, the differential in sugarcane mills density between states, and the similarity between tax regimes. Other demand and supply factors such as population density, gas stations density, sugarcane mills density and GDP per capita are not statistically significant.

Investment vs. Refurbishment: Examining Capacity Payment Mechanisms Using Stochastic Mixed Complementarity Problems

Muireann A. Lynch and Mel T. Devine

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.mlyn
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Capacity remuneration mechanisms exist in many electricity markets. Capacity mechanism designs do not explicitly consider the effects of refurbishment of existing generation units in order to increase their reliability. This paper presents a stochastic mixed complementarity problem to examine the impact of refurbishment on electricity prices and generation investment. Capacity payments are found to increase reliability when refurbishment is not possible, while capacity payments and reliability options yield similar results when refurbishment is possible. Final costs to consumers are similar under the two mechanisms with the exception of the initial case of overcapacity.

Specifying An Efficient Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff

Niall Farrell, Mel T. Devine, William T. Lee, James P. Gleeson, and Sean Lyons

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.nfar
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Commonly-employed Feed-in Tariff (FiT) structures result in either investors or policymakers incurring all market price risk. This paper derives efficient pricing formulae for FiT designs that divide market price risk amongst investors and policymakers. With increasing deployment and renewable energy policy costs, a means to precisely apportion this risk becomes of greater importance. Option pricing theory is used to calculate efficient FiT prices and expected policy cost when investors are exposed to elements of market price risk. Expected remuneration and policy cost is equal for all FiTs while policymaker and investor exposure to uncertain market prices differs. Partial derivatives characterise sensitivity to unexpected deviations in market conditions. This sensitivity differs by FiT type. The magnitudes of these effects are quantified using numerical examples for a stylised Irish case study. Based on these relationships, we discuss the conditions under which each policy choice may be preferred.

The Impact of Liberalization and Environmental Policy on the Financial Returns of European Energy Utilities

Daniel J. Tulloch, Ivan Diaz-Rainey, and I.M. Premachandra

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.dtul
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European energy utilities face a range of policy induced challenges that are materially affecting their financial returns. Accordingly, in this paper we examine the impact of liberalization, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and security of supply legislation on European energy utilities' returns between 1996 and 2013. We implement an event study portfolio analysis using a comprehensive list of major regulatory changes, the largest utility sample to date, and a novel asset pricing model that controls for sector-level stock-market, term premium, and commodity risk factors. The results show EU policies that focus on liberalization and energy efficiency have a significant negative impact on the energy sector's financial returns. This reflects changes in the fundamental risk-reward trade-off of European energy utilities and investors' recognition of the economic impact of EU legislations on the sector. Contrary to assertions by the financial press, renewable energy objectives have no significant impact on returns at sector-level; the impact is mostly concentrated on the natural gas utilities. Our results highlight a tension between liberalization and environmental objectives, negatively impacting the sector's ability to raise the estimated $2.2 trillion investment capital needed to ensure reliable and increasingly environmentally-friendly energy supply.

The Role of Continuous Intraday Electricity Markets: The Integration of Large-Share Wind Power Generation in Denmark

Fatih Karanfil and Yuanjing Li

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.fkar
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This paper suggests an innovative idea to examine the functionality of an intraday electricity market by testing causality among its fundamental components. Using Danish and Nordic data, it investigates the main drivers of the price difference between the intraday and day-ahead markets, and causality between wind forecast errors and their counterparts. Our results show that the wind and conventional generation forecast errors significantly cause the intraday price to differ from the day-ahead price, and that the relative intraday price decreases with the unexpected amount of wind generation. Cross-border electricity exchanges are found to be important to handle wind forecast errors. Additionally, some zonal differences with respect to both causality and impulse responses are detected. This paper provides the first evidence on the persuasive functioning of the intraday market in the case of Denmark, whereby intermittent production deviations are effectively reduced, and wind forecast errors are jointly handled through the responses from demand, conventional generation, and intraday international electricity trade.

Modeling UK Natural Gas Prices when Gas Prices Periodically Decouple from the Oil Price

Frank Asche, Atle Oglend, and Petter Osmundsen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.fasc
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When natural gas prices are subject to periodic decoupling from oil prices, for instance due to peak-load pricing, conventional linear models of price dynamics such as the Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) can lead to erroneous inferences about the nature of cointegration relationships, price adjustments and relative values. We propose the use of regime-switching models to address these issues. Our regime switching model uses price data to infer whether pricing is oil-driven (integrated) or gas-specific (decoupled). We find that UK natural gas (NBP) and oil (Brent) are cointegrated for the majority of the sample considered (1997-2014). UK gas prices tend to decouple during fall and early winter, when they increase relative to oil consistent with seasonal demand for natural gas creating gas-specific pricing. When evidence favors integrated markets, we find that the industry 10-1 rule-of-thumb holds (the value of one MMbtu of natural gas in the UK market is one tenth the value of one barrel of Brent oil), while the overall relationship, including decoupling periods, is 9.2-1. The paper highlights that what relative value to use, depends on the purpose of its use.

The Impact of Regulation on a Firm's Incentives to Invest in Emergent Smart Grid Technologies

Paulo Moisés Costa, Nuno Bento and Vítor Marques

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.pcos
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This paper analyzes the implementation of new technologies in network industries through the development of a suitable regulatory scheme. The analysis focuses on Smart Grid (SG) technologies which, among others benefits, could save operational costs and reduce the need for further conventional investments in the grid. In spite of the benefits that may result from their implementation, the adoption of SGs by network operators can be hampered by the uncertainties surrounding actual performances. A decision model has been developed to assess the firms' incentives to invest in "smart" technologies under different regulatory schemes. The model also enables testing the impact of uncertainties on the reduction of operational costs, and of conventional investments. Under certain circumstances, it may be justified to support the development and early deployment of emerging innovations that have a high potential to ameliorate the efficiency of the electricity system, but whose adoption faces many uncertainties.

Is Productivity Growth in Electricity Distribution Negative? An Empirical Analysis Using Ontario Data

Dimitri Dimitropoulos and Adonis Yatchew

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.ddim
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Electricity industries are experiencing upward cost pressures in many parts of the world. This paper focuses on productivity trends in electricity distribution. We apply two methodologies for estimating productivity growth - an index based approach, and an econometric cost based approach - to data on 73 Ontario distributors for the period 2002 to 2012. The resulting productivity growth estimates are approximately -1% per year, suggesting a reversal of the positive estimates that have generally been reported in previous periods. We implement flexible semi-parametric specifications to assess the robustness of these conclusions and discuss the use of such statistical analyses for calibrating productivity and relative efficiency within a price-cap framework.

Fundamental and Financial Influences on the Co-movement of Oil and Gas Prices

Derek Bunn, Julien Chevallier, Yannick Le Pen, and Benoit Sevi

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.dbun
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As speculative flows into commodity futures are expected to link commodity prices more strongly to equity indices, we investigate whether this process also creates increased correlations amongst the commodities themselves. Considering U.S. oil and gas futures, we investigate whether common factors, derived from a large international data set of real and nominal macroeconomic variables by means of the large approximate factor models methodology, are able to explain both returns and whether, beyond these fundamental common factors, the residuals remain correlated. We further investigate a possible explanation for this residual correlation by using some proxies for trading intensity derived from CFTC publicly available data, showing most notably that the proxy for speculation in the oil market increases the oil-gas correlation. We thus identify the central role of financial activities in shaping the link between oil and gas returns.