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Congestion Risk, Transmission Rights, and Investment Equilibria in Electricity Markets

Financial instruments that help provide revenue certainty are fundamental for project finance in liberalized electricity markets. Improved management of locational risk caused by network congestion is becoming increasingly important with a growing share of production from geographically remote renewable resources. Nodal markets have financial transmission rights (FTRs) to enable participants to manage locational risk, but there is no evidence that FTRs have been used to support project finance. Through a stochastic equilibrium model in which market participants invest in production assets and trade risk, we show that long-term FTRs promote surplus-maximizing generation investments and reduce the cost of capital. Investors pair them with energy price hedges and thus protect themselves against both types of risk. Our results suggest that altering the definition and allocation of FTRs to match the needs of project finance, e.g., by enabling new generators to procure a long-term right at the time of interconnection, could help ensure a complete risk market and encourage efficient investments.

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Keywords: Financial transmission rights (FTRs), Locational risk, Project finance, Stochastic equilibrium, Electricity markets, Risk trading

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.sris

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Published in Volume 45, Number 1 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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