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The Energy Journal
Volume 39, Special Issue 2

Renewable Generation and Network Congestion: an Empirical Analysis of the Italian Power Market

Faddy Ardian, Silvia Concettini, and Anna Creti

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.fard
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This article empirically investigates the impact of renewable production on congestion using a unique database on the Italian Power Market, where zonal pricing is implemented. We estimate two econometric models: a multinomial logit model, to assess whether renewables increase the occurrence of congestion, and a two stage least squares (2SLS) model to evaluate the impact of wind and photovoltaics on congestion costs. Our analysis suggests that larger renewable supply in importing regions decreases the probability of congestion compared to the no congestion case, while the reverse occurs when renewable production is located in an exporting region. The 2SLS estimations reveal that the same mechanisms explain the level of congestion costs. Our results also highlight that the magnitude of the congestion effects, both in terms of probability and costs, is very sensitive to the location of the historical efficient production, mainly hydro power, and to the geographical configuration of the transmission network.

Oil Price Risk and Financial Contagion

Khaled Guesmi, Ilyes Abid, Anna Creti, and Julien Chevallier

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.kgue
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In this paper we test for the existence of equity market contagion, originating from oil price fluctuations, to regional and domestic stock markets. The data are collected over the period from April 1993 to April 2015. We apply an empirical multifactor asset pricing model with three-factor setting to capture the unexpected return and disentangle simple correlation due to fundamentals and contagion. We investigate four regions: the European Monetary Union (EMU), Asia-Pacific (AP), the Non-European Monetary Union (NEMU) and North America (NA). We define contagion as the excess correlation that is not explained by fundamental factors. Oil price risk is shown to be a factor as important as contagion. In addition, oil price fluctuations amplify contagion in the context of regional markets strongly interlinked with the USA.

Is the Discretionary Income Effect of Oil Price Shocks a Hoax?

Christiane Baumeister, Lutz Kilian, and Xiaoqing Zhou

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.cbau
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The transmission of oil price shocks has been a question of central interest in macroeconomics since the 1970s. There has been renewed interest in this question since the large and persistent fall in the real price of oil in 2014-16. In the context of this debate, Ramey (2017) makes the striking claim that the existing literature on the transmission of oil price shocks is fundamentally confused about the question of how to quantify the effect of oil price shocks. In particular, she asserts that the discretionary income effect on private consumption, which plays a central role in contemporary accounts of the transmission of oil price shocks to the U.S. economy, makes no economic sense and has no economic foundation. Ramey suggests that the literature has too often confused the terms-of-trade effect with this discretionary income effect, and she makes the case that the effects of the oil price decline of 2014-16 on private consumption are smaller for a multitude of reasons than suggested by empirical models of the discretionary income effect. We review the main arguments in Ramey (2017) and show that none of her claims hold up to scrutiny. Our analysis highlights the theoretical basis of the discretionary income effect. We also discuss improved regression-based estimates of this effect that allow for changes in the dependence on oil and gasoline imports, and we highlight the fact that alternative estimates used by policymakers involve strong simplifying assumptions.

Integration of European Electricity Markets: Evidence from Spot Prices

Klaus Gugler, Adhurim Haxhimusa, and Mario Liebensteiner

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.kgug
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This paper investigates the current state of market integration among European electricity day-ahead spot prices. In our empirical analysis we utilize a large sample of hourly spot prices of 25 European markets for the period 2010Jan01/01h-2015Jun30/24h and combine it with other relevant data such as hourly interconnector capacities and the existence of market coupling. Firstly, empirical results from cointegration analysis indicate that market integration increased from 2010 to 2012 but then declined until 2015, despite the introduction of market coupling in many markets. Secondly, we empirically assess error correction after price shocks and reach the conclusion that markets' strength of the error correction mechanism is rather modest. In general, our findings suggest that the integration among European electricity markets has a large potential for improvements from additional capacity investments and further promotion of market coupling.

Market Power and Spatial Arbitrage between Interconnected Gas Hubs

Olivier Massol andAlbert Banal-Estañol

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.omas
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This paper examines the performance of the spatial arbitrages carried out between two regional markets for wholesale natural gas linked by a pipeline system. We develop a new empirical methodology to (i) detect if these markets are integrated, i.e., if all the spatial arbitrage opportunities between the two markets are being exploited, and (ii) decompose the observed spatial price differences into factors such as transportation costs, transportation bottlenecks, and the oligopolistic behavior of the arbitrageurs. Our framework incorporates a new test for the presence of market power and it is thus able to distinguish between physical and strategic behavior constraints on marginal cost pricing. We use the case of the "Interconnector" pipeline linking Belgium and the UK as an application. Our empirical findings show that all the arbitrage opportunities between the two zones are being exploited but confirm the presence of market power.

Counterpart Choice in Emission Markets: Beyond Pollution Abatement Motives

María Eugenia Sanin

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI2.msan
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This paper examines the determinants of electricity generator's trading strategies in the U.S. Acid Rain Market. Model estimates show that the SO2 allowances market is de facto regionalized due to the regionalization of the electricity market. The national dimension only appears when there are local imbalances in the electricity market that give strong incentives to search for a better deal outside of the generator's regional market. We also identify the importance of counterpart differentiation and the influence on the counterpart choice of the regulatory framework, market evolution and transaction size. These findings are shown to be robust to Enron's abnormal behavior during 2000-2001 and its subsequent bankruptcy. The results suggest that, contrary to received knowledge, abatement costs are not the only consideration when trading pollution allowances: market microstructure can play a crucial role.