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The "Most Value" Test: Economic Evaluation of Electricity Demand-Side Management Considering Customer Value

Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 1991
Volume: Volume 12
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No2-5
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Abstract:
What measure of economic efficiency is appropriate for evaluating demand-side management (DSM) programs sponsored by electric utilities? Most regulatory commissions in the United States require that utilities assess the efficiency of alternative programs as part of their planning process. A criterion based upon maximization of consumer surplus is proposed. This, the "most value" test not only counts the avoided supply cost and environmental benefits of such programs, but also the changes in customer value that result from rebound/takeback and changes in electric rates. The test can be viewed as an extension of the "least cost" test, which many commissions now require utilities to use. Among the "most value" test's practical implications is the fact that the net benefits of DSM will often be decreased if free riders are present or if electric rates must increase to fund the program. The "least cost" test wrongly assumesthese effects to be merely matters of income transfer. Consequently, some programs that are desirable from a "least cost" standpoint will not be beneficialfrom a most value"point of view. However, if rebound effects are large enough, the opposite can happen: some DSM programs which are apparently too costlywill actually have positive net benefits. These conclusions apply not only to programs for conserving electricity, but also to water and natural gas conservationefforts and programs that promote energy use.



Trading in the Downstream European Gas Market: A Successive Oligopoly Approach

Maroeska G. Boots, Fieke A.M. Rijkers and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 2004
Volume: Volume 25
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol25-No3-5
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Abstract:
A model of successive oligopoly is applied to the European natural gas market. The model has a two-level structure, in which Cournot producers are also Stackelberg leaders with respect to traders, who may be Cournot oligopolists or price takers. Several conclusions emerge. First, successive oligopoly ("double marginalization") yields higher prices and lower consumer welfare than if oligopoly exists only on one level. Second, due to the high concentration of traders, prices are distorted more by market power in trading than in production. Third, trader profits depend on whether producers can price discriminate among consuming sectors; if so, producers collect a greater share of the profits. Finally, when traders increase in number, prices approach competitive levels. Thus, it is important to prevent concentration in the downstream gas market. If oligopolistic trading cannot be prevented, vertical integration should not be discouraged, especially if it would increase the number of traders.



The More Cooperation, The More Competition? A Cournot Analysis of the Benefits of Electric Market Coupling

Benjamin F. Hobbs, Fieke A.M. Rijkers, Maroeska G. Boots

Year: 2005
Volume: Volume 26
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol26-No4-5
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Abstract:
If barriers between two power markets are eliminated, what might happen to competition and prices? And who benefits? In the case of the Belgian and Dutch markets, market coupling would permit more efficient use of transmission by improving access to the Belgian market, by counting only net flows against interface limits, and by eliminating mismatches in timing of interface auctions and energy spot markets. We estimate the benefits associated with the first two of these impacts using a transmission-constrained Cournot model. Social surplus improvements on the order of 108 �/year are projected, unless market coupling encourages the largest producer in the region to switch from price-taking in Belgium to a Cournot strategy due to a perceived diminished threat of regulatory intervention. Whether Dutch consumers would benefit also depends on that company�s behavior. The results illustrate how large-scale oligopoly models can be used to assess changes in market designs.



Market power in power markets: an analysis of residual demand curves in California’s day-ahead energy market (1998-2000)

Chiara Lo Prete and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.2.9
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Abstract:
We examine the exercise of market power in California's power market in 1998- 2000, with a focus on its day-ahead energy market and its five non-utility thermal generating companies. Our goal is to assess whether the hourly bids of market participants, together with information on thermal unit characteristics and power output, suggest that the five suppliers were behaving in line with Nash supply function competition, bidding close to their marginal costs or restraining quantities relative to the Nash level. The analysis of residual demand inverse elasticities suggests that the five thermal generators had an incentive to exercise unilateral market power that was not always fully exploited. A comparison of market-clearing prices, estimated marginal costs and marginal revenues finds that firm conduct was broadly consistent with Nash supply function competition or more competitive than Nash behavior in most of our sample.



The Economic Effects of Interregional Trading of Renewable Energy Certificates in the U.S. WECC

Andres P. Perez, Enzo E. Sauma, Francisco D. Munoz, and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.4.aper
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Abstract:
In the U.S., individual states enact Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) for renewable electricity production with little coordination. Each state imposes restrictions on the amounts and locations of qualifying renewable generation. Using a co-optimization (transmission and generation) planning model, we quantify the long run economic benefits of allowing flexibility in the trading of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) among the U.S. states belonging to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). We characterize flexibility in terms of the amount and geographic eligibility of out-of-state RECs that can be used to meet a state’s RPS goal. Although more trade would be expected to have economic benefits, neither the size of these benefits nor the effects of such trading on infrastructure investments, CO2 emissions and energy prices have been previously quantified. We find that up to 90% of the economic benefits are captured if approximately 25% of unbundled RECs are allowed to be acquired from out of state. Furthermore, increasing REC trading flexibility does not necessarily result in either higher transmission investment costs or a substantial impact on CO2 emissions. Finally, increasing REC trading flexibility decreases energy prices in some states and increases them elsewhere, while the WECC-wide average energy price decreases. Keywords: Renewable Portfolio Standards, Renewable Energy Credits, Transmission planning, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, Electricity markets



Crediting Wind and Solar Renewables in Electricity Capacity Markets: The Effects of Alternative Definitions upon Market Efficiency

Cynthia Bothwell and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 2017
Volume: Volume 38
Number: KAPSARC Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.SI1.cbot
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Abstract:
As the penetration of variable renewable energy in electricity markets grows, there is increasing need for capacity markets to account for the contribution of renew-ables to system adequacy. An important issue is the inconsistent industry definition of capacity credits for resources whose availability may be limited, such as renewable generation. Inaccurate credits can subsidize or penalize different resources, and consequently distort investment between renewables and non-renew-ables, and also among different types and locations of renewables. Using Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) data, we use a market equilibrium model to quantify the resulting loss of efficiency due to capacity credits alone and in combination with renewable tax subsidies and portfolio standards. Layering inaccurate capacity credits with existing US federal tax subsidies decreases efficiency as much as 6.3% compared to optimal capacity crediting under those subsidies. Compensating producers based on their marginal contributions to system adequacy, considering how renewable penetration affects the timing of net load peaks, can yield an efficient capacity market design.



Economic Inefficiencies of Cost-based Electricity Market Designs

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

Year: 2018
Volume: Volume 39
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.3.fmun
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Abstract:
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.



A Dynamic Simulation of Market Power in the Liberalised European Natural Gas Market

Wietze Lise and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Year: 2009
Volume: Volume 30
Number: Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol30-NoSI-8
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Abstract:
Recent increases in the world price of oil have led to higher gas prices in Europe, possibly leading to greater opportunities for exercising market power. The effect of different gas producer strategies upon price levels in the liberalised European gas market over the period 2005-2030 is analysed using a dynamic gas market model that accounts for demand, supply, and investments in pipeline transport, LNG, and storage. The multi-period model formulation allows exploration of the dynamics of market power as transportation and storage capacities are augmented and interact with demand growth. The combined effects of spatial configuration of the supply network and supplier location upon intensity of competition in ten different regions in Europe are considered. Differences in prices are due to the interaction of (1) inherent ability of producers to exercise market power (determined by production capacity and costs) with the (2) accessibility of the market (determined by gas transport infrastructure).





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