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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 38, KAPSARC Special Issue

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Inventory and Distribution of Energy Subsidies of China

Zhan-Ming Chen

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.zche
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To provide support for the energy subsidy reform as a critical step of China's recent energy reform agenda, a comprehensive energy subsidy inventory of China is compiled and the associated distributional effect is investigated in this study. According to the results, the lower boundary estimation of annual energy subsidies of China was 90-202 billion CNY, equivalent to 0.22%-0.37% of GDP or 0.95%-1.21% of government expenditure, during 2010-2014. Thanks to the specific subsidies provided to rural grid construction and transportation, 72% of the energy subsidies were distributed to residents in 2012, while fixed capital and export carried another 13% and 10%. Poorer urban household received higher energy subsidy ratio through dwelling and food expenditures, but lower ratio through transportation and communication expenditures. The overall energy subsidies are slightly regressive, thus adequate reform can narrow wealth gap on the one hand and reduce budgetary pressure on the other.

Pricing electricity and supporting renewables in Heavily Energy Subsidized Economies

David M. Newbery

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.dnew
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Heavily Energy Subsidized Economies' energy subsidies cost the budget on average 4% of GDP in 2014. Resource rents permit administratively undemanding transfers to citizens to maintain political support, whose removal will be resisted, despite resulting inefficient consumption and lock-in risk. Collapsing energy prices delivering severe fiscal shocks combined with growing concerns over climate change damage make carefully designed reforms both urgent and politically more acceptable. Political logic suggests designing reforms that compensate vocal interest groups. The paper presents evidence on the magnitude and impacts of oil, gas and electricity subsidies, and discusses how the electricity sector can be weaned off subsidies, enabling CCGTs and unsubsidized renewables to reduce carbon emissions.

How do Price Caps in China’s Electricity Sector Impact the Economics of Coal, Power and Wind? Potential Gains from Reforms

Bertrand Rioux, Philipp Galkin, Frederic Murphy, and Axel Pierru

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.brio
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China imposes maximum prices by plant type and region on the electricity that generators sell to utilities. We show that these price caps create a need for subsidies and cross-subsidies, and affect the economics of wind power. We model the price caps using a mixed complementarity formulation, calibrated to 2012 data. We find that the caps impose an annual cost of 45 billion RMB, alter the generation and fuel mixes, require subsidies for the market to clear, and do not incentivize adding capacity for a reserve margin. They incentivize market concentration so that generators can cross-subsidize power plants. Depending on the regulatory response, increasing wind capacity can alleviate the distortions due to the price caps. The added wind capacity, however, does not have a significant impact on the amount of coal consumed. We also find that the feed-in tariff was priced slightly higher than necessary.

Economic Impacts of Renewable Energy Promotion in Germany

Christoph Böhringer, Florian Landis, and Miguel Angel Tovar Reaños

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.cboh
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Over the last decade Germany has boosted renewable energy in power production by means of massive subsidies. The flip side are very high electricity prices which raise concerns that the transition cost towards a renewable energy system will be mainly borne by poor households. In this paper, we combine computable general equilibrium and microsimulation analyses to investigate the economic impacts of Germany's renewable energy promotion. We find that the regressive effects of renewable energy promotion could be attenuated by alternative subsidy financing mechanisms.

Introduction of Nodal Pricing into the Mexican New Electricity Market through FTR Allocations

Friedrich Kunz, Juan Rosellón, and Claudia Kemfert

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.fkun
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The change from a subsidized zonal pricing system to a full nodal pricing regime in the new Mexican electricity market could improve the efficiency of electricity system operation. However, resulting price modifications might also swing surplus across producers and consumers. In this paper, we calculate nodal prices for the Mexican power system and further analyze how allocations of financial transmission rights (FTRs) can be used to mitigate resulting distributional effects. The share of FTRs to be allocated to different generation plants and loads is studied as a second step of an electricity tariff subsidy reform agenda that includes, as a first step, the change to nodal pricing and, as a third step, the reformulation of actual regressive subsidies in a progressive way. We test our model in a realistic nodal price setting, based on an hourly modeling of the Mexican power system.

Oil Subsidies and Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia: A General Equilibrium Approach

Jorge Blazquez, Lester C Hunt, and Baltasar Manzano

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.jbla
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In 2016, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced its Vision 2030 strategic plan incorporating major changes to the economic structure of the country, including an intention to deploy 9.5 GW of renewable energy in an effort to reduce the penetration of oil in the electricity generation system. This paper assesses the macroeconomic impact of such changes in the KSA, coupled with reductions in implicit energy subsidies. Based on a dynamic general equilibrium model, our analysis suggests that if the KSA government were to deploy a relatively small quantity of renewable technology, consistent with the country's Vision 2030 plans, there would be a positive impact on the KSA's long run GDP and on households' welfare. However, we demonstrate that if the integration costs of renewable technology were high, then households' welfare would be maximized at around 30-40 percent renewables penetration. In addition, we show that a policy favoring renewable energy would increase the dependence of the KSA on oil, given that a larger share of GDP would be linked to oil exports and so, potentially, to oil price shocks. Finally, it is shown that exporting significantly more oil onto the international market could have a negative impact on the international oil price and thus could offset the potential gains from the renewable energy policy.

Auction Schemes, Bidding Strategies and the Cost-Optimal Level of Promoting Renewable Electricity in Germany

Andreas Voss and Reinhard Madlener

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.avos
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Germany is among the leading countries regarding the promotion of renewable energy towards a sustainable energy system transition. In this paper, we investigate the German pilot auction scheme for solar photovoltaics introduced in the Renewable Energies Act 2014 (EEG 2014) that serves as a pilot for the auction-based promotion of the three major large-scale renewable electricity generation technologies (wind, solar, biomass) as of 2017. A strategic bidding model is used to determine the optimal bidding strategy and to determine the resulting project value. We consider pay-as-bid and uniform pricing and single and multiple bids. Moreover, we investigate the impact of investment cost uncertainty. In a sensitivity analysis we show how bid strategy adjustments affect the outcome. Specifically, higher uncertainty regarding the market clearing price increases the project value, as this additional uncertainty can be used to raise the probability of obtaining a higher level of remuneration by an adjusted auction strategy. The first-price auction can generate additional profits by placing a second, higher bid with a low probability of success. Investment cost uncertainty can have either a positive or negative impact on the project value, depending on the auction parameter values chosen.

Comparing Renewable Energy Policies in EU-15, U.S. and China: A Bayesian DSGE Model

Amedeo Argentiero, Tarek Atalla, Simona Bigerna, Silvia Micheli, and Paolo Polinori

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.aarg
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The promotion of renewable energy sources (RES) by governments is one way of helping countries to meet their energy needs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. In this paper, we examine the role of energy policy in RES promotion, based on a carbon tax and RES price subsidy, at a time of technological and demand shocks in the European Union (E.U.) 15 countries, the United States (U.S.) and China, focusing on the macroeconomic implications. Using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model for RES and fossil fuels, our results suggest that, in the presence of a total factor productivity shock in the fossil fuel sector, such an energy policy can also be a driving force for smoothing the reduction of RES in the energy market (and vice versa). Additionally, we show that the E.U.15 grouping has a comparative advantage in terms of reaching grid parity compared with the other countries we considered which are more fossil fuel dependent.

Analyzing the effects of renewable energy and climate conditions on consumer welfare

Tarek Atalla, Simona Bigerna, Carlo Andrea Bollino, and Rolando Fuentes

Competition in Electricity Markets with Renewable Energy Sources

Daron Acemoglu, Ali Kakhbod, and Asuman Ozdaglar