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Arbitrage in Energy Markets: Price Discrimination under Congestion

Bert Willems and Gerd Kupper

Year: 2010
Volume: Volume 31
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol31-No3-3
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Abstract:
During the last decades the production of electrical energy has been liberalized. This paper studies the effect of using a market mechanism to allocate scarce transmission capacity when the incumbent producers remain dominant. We show that granting exclusive use to an incumbent producer is preferred to trading access to this essential facility if interregional production-cost differences are significant and transmission capacity is scarce. This result counters the intuition on third degree price-discrimination, that arbitrage will improve the social surplus when there is no output contraction. The reason is that with arbitrage the incumbent can still charge different regional prices as long as it creates congestion on the transmission lines. As a consequence, welfare will be lower, since the incumbent distorts production decisions to congest the lines. We recommend that a market-oriented access to scarce transmission capacity should be accompanied by additional regulatory or structural measures to address market power.



The Impact of Electricity Sector Restructuring on Coal-fired Power Plants in India

Kabir Malik, Maureen Cropper, Alexander Limonov and Anoop Singh

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.4.kmal
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Abstract:
We examine whether the unbundling of generation from transmission and distribution services at state-owned power plants in India improved operating efficiency at these power plants. Between 1995 and 2009, 85 percent of coal-based generation capacity owned by state governments was unbundled from vertically integrated State Electricity Boards into state generating companies. We find that generating units in states that unbundled before the Electricity Act of 2003 experienced reductions in forced outages of about 25% and improvements in availability of about 10%, with the largest results occurring 3-5 years after unbundling. We find no evidence of improvements in thermal efficiency at state-owned power plants due to unbundling.



Why Wind Is Not Coal: On the Economics of Electricity Generation

Lion Hirth, Falko Ueckerdt, and Ottmar Edenhofer

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.3.lhir
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Abstract:
Electricity is a paradoxical economic good: it is highly homogeneous and heterogeneous at the same time. Electricity prices vary dramatically between moments in time, between location, and according to lead-time between contract and delivery. This three-dimensional heterogeneity has implication for the economic assessment of power generation technologies: different technologies, such as coal-fired plants and wind turbines, produce electricity that has, on average, a different economic value. Several tools that are used to evaluate generators in practice ignore these value differences, including "levelized electricity costs", "grid parity", and simple macroeconomic models. This paper provides a rigorous and general discussion of heterogeneity and its implications for the economic assessment of electricity generating technologies. It shows that these tools are biased, specifically, they tend to favor wind and solar power over dispatchable generators where these renewable generators have a high market share. A literature review shows that, at a wind market share of 30-40%, the value of a megawatt-hour of electricity from a wind turbine can be 20-50% lower than the value of one megawatt-hour as demanded by consumers. We introduce "System LCOE" as one way of comparing generation technologies economically.



Price Regulation and the Incentives to Pursue Energy Efficiency by Minimizing Network Losses

Joisa Dutra, Flavio M. Menezes, and Xuemei Zheng

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.4.jdut
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Abstract:
This paper examines the incentives embedded in different regulatory regimes for investment by utilities in energy efficiency programs that aim to reduce network losses. In our model, a monopolist chooses whether to undertake an investment in energy efficiency, which is not observable by the regulator. We show that, in equilibrium, the monopolist chooses to exert positive effort more often under price cap regulation than under no regulation or mandated target regulation and that she exerts no effort under rate of return regulation. This result contrasts with an extensive literature that focuses on end-user energy conservation and shows that price caps are ineffective for achieving energy efficiency as utilities have an incentive to maximize sales volume. Thus, policies that are designed to promote demand-side energy conservation may diminish the utilities' incentives to pursue supply-side energy efficiency through minimizing network losses. Keywords: Energy efficiency, Regulatory incentive, The electricity sector



Renewables, Allowances Markets, and Capacity Expansion in Energy-Only Markets

Paolo Falbo, Cristian Pelizzari, and Luca Taschini

Year: 2019
Volume: Volume 40
Number: Number 6
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.pfal
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Abstract:
We investigate the combined effect of an Emissions Trading System (ETS) and renewable energy sources on investments in electricity capacity in energy-only markets. We study the long-term capacity expansion decision in fossil fuel and renewable technologies when electricity demand is uncertain. We model a relevant tradeoff: a higher share of renewable production can be priced at the higher marginal cost of fossil fuel production, yet the likelihood of achieving higher profits is reduced because more electricity demand is met by cheaper renewable production. We illustrate our theoretical results comparing the optimal solutions under a business-as-usual scenario and under an ETS scenario. This illustration shows under which limiting market settings a monopolist prefers to withhold investments in renewable energy sources, highlighting the potential distortionary effect introduced via an ETS. Our conclusions remain unaltered under varying key modelling assumptions.





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