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The Energy Journal
Volume 40, Number 6




Incentivizing Energy Efficiency under Private Information: The Social Optimum

Franz Wirl

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.fwir
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Abstract:
This paper addresses how far public initiatives should try to eliminate the energy efficiency gap if consumers hold private information about their willingness to pay for efficiency. The major finding is that even socially optimal efficiency programs should only close a fraction of the gap. This conclusion has to be strengthened if the external costs of energy were internalized, because an intervention is then only justified for low costs of public funds and very large payback gaps. Furthermore, the realistic assumption of private information implies that the highest subsidies must be paid to efficient types, which turns incentives based on perfect information upside down.




Uncovering Bidder Behaviour in the German PV Auction Pilot: Insights from Agent-based Modeling

Marijke Welisch and Jan Kreiss

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.mwel
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Abstract:
This paper analyses bidder behaviour in the German photovoltaic (PV) auction pilot. It uses a novel approach combining insights from data analysis and decision theory to optimise an agent-based simulation model. We model both a uniform pricing (UP) scheme, a pay-as-bid (PAB) scheme, and a benchmark case, where agents adapt their bidding strategy. The findings are contrasted with empirical auction outcomes. The comparison shows that, especially in the early rounds, bid prices were above the costs - possibly due to uncertainties and false expectations concerning competition. This is particularly visible in the first round. Adapting their expectations to a higher competition level, bidders in the pay-as-bid simulation subsequently decrease their bids. From simulating a separate auction for arable land bidders, we see that this bidder type reduces support costs substantially and that an implicitly discriminatory auction yields more aggressive bids and can induce further cost reductions.




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

Paolo Falbo, Cristian Pelizzari, and Luca Taschini

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.




Cross-border Effects of Capacity Remuneration Schemes in Interconnected Markets: Who is Free-riding?

Xavier Lambin and Thomas-Olivier Léautier

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.xlam
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Abstract:
We study the welfare impacts of domestic support schemes for generation capacity when energy markets are interconnected. We find that if transmission system operators (TSOs) can't reduce export capacity and neighbors stay energy-only, a capacity market is ineffective unless transmission capacity is small. If TSOs can reduce export capacity, the capacity market attracts investments and Security of Supply (SoS) of non-domestic markets shrink. A neighboring energy-only or strategic reserve market will thus be prejudiced in the long-run and may have to implement a capacity market as well in order to meet its SoS standard. Hence, capacity markets may spread in Europe thanks to their negative cross-border effect on investment incentives. This is in sharp contrast with the conventional wisdom, based on short-term arguments, that energy-only markets will free-ride the SoS provided by neighboring capacity markets. Our conclusions urge for the harmonization of capacity remuneration schemes across Europe.




Interfuel Substitution: Evidence from the Markov Switching Minflex Laurent Demand System with BEKK Errors

Apostolos Serletis and Libo Xu

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.aser
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Abstract:
We investigate interfuel substitution in the United States using the minflex Laurent demand system and a century of data (from 1919 to 2012). We relax the assumption of constant parameters in the demand system, and also relax the homoskedasticity assumption, instead assuming that the covariance matrix of the errors is time-varying. Our results are consistent with theoretical regularity and indicate that the Morishima elasticities of substitution are always positive for all pairs of the energy goods (suggesting substitutability), but exhibit large swings across two regimes, generally being higher in the high demand volatility regime before the 1950s.




Renewable Energy Targets in the Context of the EU ETS: Whom do They Benefit Exactly?

Florian Landis and Peter Heindl

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.flan
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Abstract:
We study how European climate and energy policy targets affect different member states and households of different income quintiles within the member states. We find that renewable energy targets in power generation, by reducing eu ets permit prices, may make net permit exporters worse off and net permit importers better off. This effect appears to dominate the efficiency cost of increasing the share of energy provided by renewable energy sources in the countries that adopt such targets. While an increase in prices for energy commodities, which is entailed by the policies in question, affects households in low income quintiles the most, recycling revenues from climate policy allows governments to compensate them for the losses. If renewable targets reduce the revenues from ets permit auctions, member states with large allocations of auctionable permits will lose some of the ability to do so.




An Examination of How Energy Efficiency Incentives Are Distributed Across Income Groups

Grant D. Jacobsen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.gjac
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Abstract:
Many policies lead to the provision of incentives, such as rebates or tax credits, to consumers for the purchase of products that have high energy efficiency. This paper investigates how these incentives are distributed across income groups for three types of subsidies (manufacturer or retailer rebates, utility rebates, and tax credits) and eight types of equipment. While incentives are always concentrated in higher-income households, there is substantial heterogeneity in the magnitude of the concentration depending on how incentives are structured. Tax credits are the type of subsidy that is most concentrated in higher-income households and utility rebates are the least. Incentives for appliances that are not universally-owned, including dishwashers and clotheswashers, are more concentrated than are incentives for other types of equipment. Differences across income groups in the rates of equipment presence and turnover, willingness to purchase Energy Star models, and rates of homeownership contribute to the concentration. After controlling for these factors, utility rebates are no longer concentrated in higher-income households, but manufacturer / retailer rebates and tax credits remain so.




Is Oil Price Still Driving Inflation?

Patricia Renou-Maissant

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.pren
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Abstract:
In this paper, we empirically investigate the effects of oil price changes on inflation over the period 1991-2016 for eight industrial countries: the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and the UK. In doing so, we use an oil-augmented Phillips curve with unobserved components and we consider time-varying coefficients. The results show that even over a period of low and stable inflation, oil prices play a significant role in the dynamics of inflation. In all the countries except Germany, oil pass-through into inflation increased from the early 2000s up until the global financial crisis. In the United States it has nearly doubled in the last fifteen years. These findings suggest that central banks must continue to monitor oil prices closely.




Oil Price Pass-through into Core Inflation

Cristina Conflitti and Matteo Luciani

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.ccon
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Abstract:
We estimate the oil price pass-through into consumer prices both in the U.S. and in the euro area. In particular, we disentangle the specific effect that an oil price change might have on each disaggregate price, from the effect on all prices that an oil price change might have since it affects the whole economy. To do so, we first estimate a Dynamic Factor Model on a panel of disaggregate price indicators, and then we use VAR techniques to estimate the pass-through. Our results show that the oil price passes through core inflation only via its effect on the whole economy. This pass-through is estimated to be small, but statistically different from zero and long lasting.




Another Step Towards Equilibrium Offers in Unit Commitment Auctions with Nonconvex Costs: Multi-Firm Oligopolies

Joseph E. Duggan, Jr. and Ramteen Sioshansi

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.6.jdug
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Abstract:
There are two uniform-price-auction formats - centrally and self-committed - that are used commonly in wholesale electricity markets. Both formats are operated by an independent third-party market operator, which solicits supply offers from generators and determines how much energy they produce to serve customer demand. In centrally committed markets, generators submit complex offers that convey all of their non-convex operating costs and constraints. Conversely, generators submit simple offers in self-committed markets that specify only the price at which they are willing to supply energy. Thus, generators must internalize their non-convex costs and other operating constraints in submitting offers in a self-committed market. Centrally committed markets include also a provision that each generator is made whole on the basis of its submitted offers. No such guarantees exist in self-committed markets. This paper builds on the work of Sioshansi and Nicholson (2011) and studies the energy-cost ranking and incentive properties of the two market designs in a multi-firm oligopoly setting. We derive Nash equilibria under both market designs. We find that equilibrium offer behavior across the two market designs is qualitatively similar to the duopoly model when demand is high. However, when demand is low, cost equivalence between the two market designs breaks down. This is because inframarginal generators are able to earn positive profits in certain states of low demand in self-committed markets, whereas all generators are constrained to earn zero profits in low-demand states in the centrally-committed market design.




Book Reviews

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