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The Energy Journal
Volume 41, Number 1




The Impact of a Carbon Tax on the CO2 Emissions Reduction of Wind

Chi Kong Chyong, Bowei Guo, and David Newbery

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.cchy
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Abstract:
Energy policy aims to reduce emissions at least long-run cost while ensuring reliability. Its effecacy depends on the cost of emissions reduced. Britain introduced an additional carbon tax (the Carbon Price Support, CPS) for fuels used to generate electricity that by 2015 added £18/t CO2, dramatically reducing the coal share from 41% in 2013 to 6% in 2018. Policies have both short and long-run impacts. Both need to be estimated to measure carbon savings. The paper shows how to measure the Marginal Displacement Factor (MDF, tonnes CO2 /MWh) for wind. The short-run (SR) MDF is estimated econometrically while the long-run (LR) MDF is calculated from a unit commitment model of the GB system in 2015. We examine counter-factual fuel and carbon price scenarios. The CPS lowered the SR-MDF by 7% in 2015 but raised the LR-MDF (for a 25% increase in wind capacity) by 18%. We discuss reasons for the modest differences in the SR- and LR-MDFs.




Effects of Ownership and Business Portfolio on Production in the Oil and Gas Industry

Binlei Gong

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.bgon
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Abstract:
The Shale Revolution and the two oil crises have overwhelmingly reshaped the petroleum industry in the last decade. Heterogeneity across companies is also a big concern as many multi-product (oil and gas) and multi-segment (upstream and downstream) firms exist, both state-owned and privately-owned. Therefore, a varying coefficient model is introduced to capture the effects of time, ownership, and business portfolio on both productivity and input elasticities to closely observe the fundamental transition, which is further interpreted using decomposition equations. The shape of the production function is indeed firm- and time-variant, which confirms the transition of the industry and the necessity of using the varying coefficient model. The average productivity achieved tremendous growth after the 2007-2009 financial crisis but lost momentum following the 2014 price crash. Finally, privately-owned, gas production and downstream activities are more productive than state-owned, oil production and upstream activities, respectively. Some policy implications are also discussed.




The Effects of Fuel Prices, Environmental Regulations, and Other Factors on U.S. Coal Production, 2008-2016

John Coglianese, Todd D. Gerarden, and James H. Stock

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.jcog
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Abstract:
We decompose the decline in coal production from 2008 to 2016 into the contributions of several sources. In particular, we estimate the effects of declining natural gas prices and the introduction of new environmental regulations along with several other factors, using both monthly state-level data and annual information on coal plant closings. We estimate that the declining price of natural gas relative to coal is responsible for 92 percent of the total decline in coal production over this period and that environmental regulations account for an additional six percent, with other factors making small and offsetting contributions.




Consumer Inattention, Heuristic Thinking and the Role of Energy Labels

Mark A. Andor, Andreas Gerster, and Stephan Sommer

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.mand
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Abstract:
Energy labels have been introduced in many countries to increase consumers' attention to energy use in purchase decisions of durables. In a stated-choice experiment among about 5,000 German households, we implement randomized information treatments to explore how energy labels influence purchasing decisions. Our results show that adding annual operating cost information to the EU energy label promotes the choice of energy-efficient durables. In addition, we find that a majority of participants value efficiency classes beyond the economic value of the underlying energy use differences. Our results further indicate that displaying operating cost affects choices through two distinct channels: It increases the attention to operating cost and reduces the valuation of efficiency class differences.




On the Viability of Energy Communities

Ibrahim Abada, Andreas Ehrenmann, and Xavier Lambin

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.iaba
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Abstract:
Following the development of decentralized production technologies, energy communities have become a topic of increased interest. While the potential benefits have been described, we use the framework of cooperative game theory to test the ability of such communities to adequately share the gains. Indeed, despite the potential value created by such coalitions, there is no guarantee that they will be viable: a subset of participants may find it profitable to exit the community and create another one of their own. We take the case of a neighborhood, having access to a limited resource - e.g. a shared roof or piece of land - which they can exploit if they invest in some renewable production capacity. By joining the community, participants also enjoy aggregation gains in the form of reduced network fees. We find conditions depending on the structure of renewable installation costs, on the magnitude of the aggregation effect and coordination costs and, most importantly, on the chosen sharing rule, under which the whole energy community is stable. In particular, we show that standard sharing rules often fail to enable communities to form and we suggest the adoption of slightly more sophisticated rules. Efficiency could require the intervention of a local planner or a change in network tariff structures.




The Impact of U.S. Supply Shocks on the Global Oil Price

Thomas S. Gundersen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.tgun
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Abstract:
I examine the role of the U.S. shale oil boom in driving global oil prices. Using a structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) model that identifies separate oil supply shocks for the U.S. and OPEC, I find that U.S. supply shocks can account for up to 13% of the oil price variation over the 2003-2015 period. This is considerably more than what has been found in other studies. Moreover, while U.S. oil production has increased substantially since 2010, U.S. oil supply shocks first started to contribute negatively to oil prices beginning in late 2013. This mismatch implies a temporary friction in the transmission of U.S. supply shocks to the rest of the world likely caused by logistical and technological challenges observed in the downstream supply chain.




Did U.S. Consumers Respond to the 2014-2015 Oil Price Shock? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey

Patrick Alexander and Louis Poirier

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.pale
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Abstract:
The impact of oil price shocks on the U.S. economy is a topic of considerable debate. In this paper, we examine the response of U.S. consumers to the 2014-2015 negative oil price shock using representative survey data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. We propose a difference-in-difference identification strategy based on two factors, vehicle ownership and gasoline reliance, which generate variation in exposure to oil price shocks across consumers. Our findings suggest that exposed consumers significantly increased their spending relative to non-exposed consumers when oil prices fell, and that the average marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of gasoline savings was above 1. Across products, we find that consumers increased spending especially on transportation goods and non-essential items.




The Efficiency and Distributional Effects of Alternative Residential Electricity Rate Designs

Scott P. Burger, Christopher R. Knittel, Ignacio J. Perez-Arriaga, Ian Schneider, and Frederik vom Scheidt

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.sbur
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Abstract:
Electricity tariffs typically charge residential users a volumetric rate that covers the bulk of energy, transmission, and distribution costs. The resulting prices, charged per unit of electricity consumed, do not reflect marginal costs and vary little across time and space. The emergence of distributed energy resources - such as solar photovoltaics and energy storage - has sparked interest among regulators and utilities in reforming electricity tariffs to enable more efficient utilization of these resources. The economic pressure to redesign electricity rates is countered by concerns of how more efficient rate structures might impact different socioeconomic groups. We analyze the bill impacts of alternative rate plans using interval metering data for more than 100,000 customers in the Chicago, Illinois area. We combine these data with granular Census data to assess the incidence of bill changes across different socioeconomic groups. We find that low-income customers would face bill increases on average in a transition to more economically efficient electricity tariffs. However, we demonstrate that simple changes to fixed charges in two-part tariffs can mitigate these disparities while preserving all, or the vast majority, of the efficiency gains. These designs rely exclusively on observable information and could be replicated by utilities in many geographies across the U.S.




Pipeline Capacity Rationing and Crude Oil Price Differentials: The Case of Western Canada

W.D. Walls and Xiaoli Zheng

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.wwal
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Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of pipeline capacity constraints on the discount of Canadian oil prices relative to U.S. benchmark oil prices. Using a panel of monthly data for Canadian oil exporting pipelines, we estimate that price differentials between U.S. markets and Western Canada would increase by 3.6% for 1% increase in pipeline capacity constraints. Pipeline capacity constraints in Canada have resulted in an average loss of $5.53 for every barrel of crude oil exported to the U.S. between 2009 and 2017. In 2015 and 2016, the losses due to insufficient pipeline capacity were equivalent to 3%-5% of the Canadian oil and gas industry's sales revenue and 69%-102% of its royalty payments to provincial governments. Western Canadian oil refiners and refined products' consumers benefit from the depressed crude oil prices. However, the total gains captured by local refiners and consumers are much smaller than the losses of the upstream sector.




On Entry Cost Dynamics in Australia's National Electricity Market

Paul Simshauser and Joel Gilmore

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.1.psim
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Abstract:
In theory, well designed electricity markets should deliver an efficient mix of technologies at least-cost. But energy market theories and energy market modelling are based upon equilibrium analysis and in practice electricity markets can be off-equilibrium for extended periods. Near-term spot and forward contract prices can and do fall well below, or substantially exceed, relevant entry cost benchmarks and associated long run equilibrium prices. However, given sufficient time higher prices, on average or during certain periods, create incentives for new entrant plant which in turn has the effect of capping longer-dated average spot price expectations at the estimated cost of the relevant new entrant technologies. In this article, we trace generalised new entrant benchmarks and their relationship to spot price outcomes in Australia's National Electricity Market over the 20-year period to 2018; from coal, to gas and more recently to variable renewables plus firming, notionally provided by - or shadow priced at - the carrying cost of an Open Cycle Gas Turbine. This latest entry benchmark relies implicitly, but critically, on the gains from exchange in organised spot markets, using existing spare capacity. As aging coal plant exit, gains from exchange may gradually diminish with 'notional firming' increasingly and necessarily being met by physical firming. At this point, the benchmark must once again move to a new technology set...




Book Reviews

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