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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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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.

Optimal Capacity Mechanisms for Competitive Electricity Markets

Pär Holmberg and Robert A. Ritz

Year: 2020
Volume: Volume 41
Number: Special Issue
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.SI1.phol
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Capacity mechanisms are increasingly used in electricity market design around the world yet their role remains hotly debated. This paper introduces a new benchmark model of a capacity mechanism in a competitive electricity market with many different conventional generation technologies. We consider two policy instruments, a wholesale price cap and a capacity payment, and show which combinations of these instruments induce socially-optimal investment by the market. Our analysis yields a rationale for a capacity mechanism based on the internalization of a system-cost externality�even where the price cap is set at the value of lost load. In extensions, (i) we show how increasing variable renewables penetration can enhance the need for a capacity payment under a novel condition called "imperfect system substitutability" , and (ii) we outline the socially-optimal design of a strategic reserve with a targeted capacity payment.

On the Role of Risk Aversion and Market Design in Capacity Expansion Planning

Christoph Fraunholz, Kim K. Miskiw, Emil Kraft, Wolf Fichtner, and Christoph Weber

Year: 2023
Volume: Volume 44
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.44.2.cfra
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Investment decisions in competitive power markets are based upon thorough profitability assessments. Thereby, investors typically show a high degree of risk aversion, which is the main argument for capacity mechanisms being implemented around the world. In order to investigate the interdependencies between investors' risk aversion and market design, we extend the agent-based electricity market model PowerACE to account for long-term uncertainties. This allows us to model capacity expansion planning from an agent perspective and with different risk preferences. The enhanced model is then applied in a multi-country case study of the European electricity market. Our results show that assuming risk-averse rather than risk-neutral investors leads to slightly reduced investments in dispatchable capacity, higher wholesale electricity prices, and reduced levels of resource adequacy. These effects are more pronounced in an energy-only market than under a capacity mechanism. Moreover, uncoordinated changes in market design may also lead to negative cross-border effects.

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