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Assessing Improved Price Zones in Europe: Flow-Based Market Coupling in Central Western Europe in Focus

Theoretical papers have identified several sources of inefficiencies of flow-based market coupling (FBMC), the implicit congestion management method used to couple the Central Western European (CWE) electricity markets. These inefficiencies ultimately lead to welfare losses. In this paper, a large-scale model framework is introduced for FBMC assessments, focusing on modeling the capacity allocation and market clearing processes. The present paper completes this framework by presenting a newly developed redispatch model. Furthermore, we provide a case study assessing improved price zone configurations (PZCs) for the CWE electricity system, motivated by the debate on the currently-existing PZC. Our results show that improved PZCs—even while maintaining the number of price zones—can significantly reduce redispatch quantities and overall system costs. Moreover, making use of the insights of (Felten et al., 2021), we explain why increasing the number of price zones may not always increase welfare when using FBMC.

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Keywords: Price zones, Zonal pricing, Flow-based market coupling, Electricity market design, Welfare analysis, Redispatch

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.44.6.tfel

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Published in Volume 44, Number 6 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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