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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 39, Number 3

Prepress Content: The following article is a preprint of a scientific paper that has completed the peer-review process and been accepted for publication within The Energy Journal.

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Oil Prices and State Unemployment

Mohamad B. Karaki

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.mkar
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This paper studies the effect of oil price shocks on U.S. state-level unemployment rates. First, using a test of symmetry, I evaluate whether the relationship between oil prices and state unemployment rates is symmetric. I find no evidence against the null of symmetry after accounting for data mining. Second, I use a symmetric structural VAR model to analyze the effect of oil supply shocks, aggregate demand shocks and oil-specific demand shocks on state unemployment. I find that an adverse supply shock triggers increases in unemployment, whereas a positive aggregate demand shock reduces the unemployment rate across most U.S. states. I also show that oil-specific demand shocks have little effect on state unemployment. Finally, I dig into the historical contribution of the various oil shocks to the changes in state unemployment rates during the shale boom period. I find that aggregate demand shocks contributed the most to the change of unemployment.

Economic Inefficiencies of Cost-based Electricity Market Designs

Francisco D. Munoz, Sonja Wogrin, Shmuel S. Oren, and Benjamin F. Hobbs

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.fmun
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Some restructured power systems rely on audited cost information instead of competitive bids for the dispatch and pricing of electricity in real time, particularly in hydro systems in Latin America. Audited costs are also substituted for bids in U.S. markets when local market power is demonstrated to be present. Regulators that favor a cost-based design argue that this is more appropriate for systems with a small number of generation firms because it eliminates the possibilities for generators to behave strategically in the spot market, which is a main concern in bid-based markets. We discuss existing results on market power issues in cost- and bid-based designs and present a counterintuitive example, in which forcing spot prices to be equal to marginal costs in a concentrated market can actually yield lower social welfare than under a bid-based market design due to perverse investment incentives. Additionally, we discuss the difficulty of auditing the true opportunity costs of generators in cost-based markets and how this can lead to distorted dispatch schedules and prices, ultimately affecting the long-term economic efficiency of a system. An important example is opportunity costs that diverge from direct fuel costs due to energy or start limits, or other generator constraints. Most of these arise because of physical and financial inflexibilities that become more relevant with increasing shares of variable and unpredictable generation from renewables.

Market Integration and Wind Generation: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Wind Generation on Cross-Border Power Prices

Sébastien Annan-Phan and Fabien A. Roques

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.spha
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European power markets have become more integrated and renewables have a significant effect on power prices and cross-border exchanges. This paper investigates empirically how the effects of renewables are affected by market expansion across two adjacent countries (France and Germany), based on market data and proprietary data on book orders. We find that wind production lowers power prices on average and increases volatility, not only domestically but also across borders. Using multiple counterfactuals, we examine how our results depend on the level of interconnection and find that further interconnection capacity would decrease price volatility in both countries since the benefits of a larger market would outweigh the contagion effects of volatility. Our findings have important policy implications as they demonstrate the need to coordinate support policies for renewables and policies to support transmission capacity expansion in order to mitigate the impact of volatility on power prices in neighboring power markets.

Consumer Surplus from Energy Transitions

Roger Fouquet

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.rfou
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Energy transitions have led to major advances in human wellbeing. However, little evidence exists about the scale of the net benefits. By developing a new method for identifying the demand curve, this paper estimates the consumer surplus associated with heating, transport and lighting over more than two hundred years and identifies the gains from key energy transitions. For certain energy transitions, the increase was dramatic, reflecting the transformations in society and lifestyles that mobility and illumination provided in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet, the net benefits related to heating technologies only rose modestly. Finally, due to saturation effects of the demand for energy services, future technological developments and energy transitions may benefit consumers (though not necessarily society as a whole) less than those in the past.

Simulating Annual Variation in Load, Wind, and Solar by Representative Hour Selection

Geoffrey J. Blanford, James H. Merrick, John E.T. Bistline, and David T. Young

No Abstract