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The Energy Journal
Volume 40, Number 2




Is Abundant Natural Gas a Bridge to a Low-carbon Future or a Dead-end?

Kenneth Gillingham and Pei Huang

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.kgil
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Abstract:
A fierce debate rages on whether abundant natural gas is a bridge to a low-carbon future or a hindrance to long-term decarbonization. This paper uses a detailed energy-economic market equilibrium model to study the effects of an upper bound case of natural gas availability. We show that a market-driven abundant natural gas supply can provide substantial reductions in air pollution but does not considerably reduce CO2 emissions in the longer-term, especially relative to a moderate carbon price. However, we quantify large welfare benefits from abundant natural gas. The spatial disaggregation of our results allows for a clear picture of the distributional impacts of abundant natural gas under different carbon price scenarios, illustrating welfare gains by most regions regardless of whether there is carbon pricing, but substantial heterogeneity in the welfare gains.




A Multidimensional Approach to Measuring Fuel Poverty

Dorothee Charlier and Berangere Legendre

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.bleg
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Abstract:
In this study we suggest that a more careful and systematic understanding of fuel poverty can be developed through a multidimensional approach to the relationship between monetary poverty, residential energy efficiency, and heating restriction. Our objective is to provide new ways to better identify those who suffer the most from fuel poverty to optimize policy. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to measure poverty in three steps following Sen (1979): (i) combining poverty characteristics into an aggregate measure involving a fuel poverty index (FPI), (ii) identification and comparison of poor people according to existing and new definitions and (iii) testing the robustness of the fuel poverty composite indicator. Our results show that the usual measures reveal a gap that does not consider all the dimensions of fuel poverty, excluding those who are at or above a certain threshold, but who are nevertheless vulnerable.




Understanding Dynamic Conditional Correlations between Oil, Natural Gas and Non-Energy Commodity Futures Markets

Niaz Bashiri Behmiri, Matteo Manera, and Marcella Nicolini

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.nbeh
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Abstract:
We look at the dynamic conditional correlations (DCCs) between oil, natural gas and other non-energy commodity futures markets, obtained from a DCC-GARCH model over the period 1998-2014. They are positive and display a sharp increase around year 2008 and a subsequent decrease. The DCCs between energy and metals are larger than the energy-agriculture ones. To understand how macroeconomic and financial factors, as well as speculative activity, influence them, we estimate an ARDL(1,1) model, adopting a pooled mean group (PMG) estimator. We observe that macroeconomic and financial variables are significantly correlated with the energy-agriculture and energy-metals DCCs. Speculative activity contributes to explain the energy-agriculture DCCs but not those of the energy-metals.




Natural Gas Transits and Market Power: The Case of Turkey

Simon Schulte and Florian Weiser

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.ssch
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Abstract:
Turkey is a key country in order to realize the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) due to its geographical location. However, as the main transit country within the SGC, Turkey could potentially exert market power with gas transits. Whether Turkey exerts market power or not, is crucial for an economic assessment of the SGC. Hence, the article investigates this issue quantitatively using a global partial equilibrium gas market model. An oligopolistic and a competitive supply structure in the European upstream market in 2030 are considered in the model based on calibrations to historical gas market situations. If the European gas market in 2030 is characterized by an oligopolistic supply, Turkey is able to exert market power resulting in higher prices compared to competitive transits, in particular in South Eastern Europe. In a competitive market structure, however, the importance of the SGC and thus the potential of Turkish transit market power is limited.




From Residential Energy Demand to Fuel Poverty: Income-induced Non-linearities in the Reactions of Households to Energy Price Fluctuations

Dorothee Charlier and Sondes Kahouli

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.dcha
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Abstract:
The residential energy demand is growing steadily and the trend is expected to continue in the near future. At the same time, under the impulse of economic crises and environmental and energy policies, many households have experienced reductions in real income and higher energy prices. In the residential sector, the number of fuel-poor households is thus expected to rise. A better understanding of the determinants of residential energy demand, in particular of the role of income and the sensitivity of households to changes in energy prices, is crucial in the context of recurrent debates on energy efficiency and fuel poverty. We propose a panel threshold regression (PTR) model to empirically test the sensitivity of French households to energy price fluctuations - as measured by the elasticity of residential heating energy prices - and to analyze the overlap between their income and fuel poverty profiles. The PTR model allows to test for the non-linear effect of income on the reactions of households to fluctuations in energy prices. Thus, it can identify specific regimes differing by their level of estimated price elasticities. Each regime represents an elasticity-homogeneous group of households. The number of these regimes is determined based on an endogenously PTR-fixed income threshold. Thereafter, we analyze the composition of the regimes (i.e. groups) to locate the dominant proportion of fuel-poor households and analyse their monetary poverty characteristics. Results show that, depending on the income level, we can identify two groups of households that react differently to residential energy price fluctuations and that fuel-poor households belong mostly to the group of households with the highest elasticity. By extension, results also show that income poverty does not necessarily mean fuel poverty. In terms of public policy, we suggest focusing on income heterogeneity by considering different groups of households separately when defining energy efficiency measures. We also suggest paying particular attention to targeting fuel-poor households by examining the overlap between fuel and income poverty.




Informed Trading in the WTI Oil Futures Market

Olivier Rousse and Benoit Sevi

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.orou
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Abstract:
The weekly release of the U.S. inventory level by the DOE-EIA is known as the market mover in the U.S. oil futures market. We uncover suspicious trading patterns in the WTI futures markets in days when the inventory level is released that are higher than market forecasts: there are significantly more orders initiated by buyers in the two hours preceding the official release of the inventory level, with a drop in the average price of -0.25% ahead of the news release. This finding is consistent with informed trading. We also provide evidence of an asymmetric response of the oil price to oil-inventory news, and highlight an over-reaction that is partly compensated in the hours following the announcement.




Who Pays for Retail Electric Deregulation? Evidence of Cross-Subsidization from Complete Bill Data

Noah Dormady, Matthew Hoyt, Alfredo Roa-Henriquez, and William Welch

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.ndor
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Abstract:
Retail electric deregulation has been identified in the literature to have favorable price impacts to businesses and households because of the introduction of competition into rate-setting. Those studies often ignore the important role of regulatory intervention. They are also generally national or multi-state aggregated studies that ignore state- and utility-specific dynamics, and most rely on Energy Information Administration (EIA) price data that does not account for riders and surcharges on consumer bills, which can total more than 60 percent of bills. Using a unique panel of representative, complete electricity bill data from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), this paper provides a multi-utility panel regression analysis of the effect of retail deregulation on total electric bills in Ohio. The results identify two main sources of cross-subsidization that have generally cancelled out the favorable effects of restructuring. Both types of cross-subsidies result in substantial burden shifts to residential consumers.




Grid Investment and Support Schemes for Renewable Electricity Generation

Johannes Wagner

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.jwag
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Abstract:
The unbundling of formerly vertically integrated utilities in liberalized electricity markets led to a coordination problem between investments in the regulated electricity grid and investments into new power generation. At the same time investments into new generation capacities based on weather dependent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy are increasingly subsidized with different support schemes. Against this backdrop this article analyzes the locational choice of private wind power investors under different support schemes and the implications on grid investments. I find that investors do not choose system optimal locations in feed-in tariff schemes, feed-in premium schemes and subsidy systems with direct capacity payments. Consequently, inefficiencies arise if transmission investment follows wind power investment. A benevolent transmission operator can implement the first-best solution by anticipatory investment behavior, which is however only applicable under perfect regulation. Alternatively a location dependent network charge for wind power producers can directly influence investment decisions and internalize the grid integration costs of wind power generation.




Impact of Coordinated Capacity Mechanisms on the European Power Market

Michael Bucksteeg, Stephan Spiecker, and Christoph Weber

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.mbuc
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Abstract:
There is an ongoing debate on the introduction of capacity markets in most European countries while a few of them have already established capacity markets. Since the implementation of independent national capacity markets is not in line with the target of a pan-European internal electricity market we investigate the impacts of uncoordinated capacity markets compared with coordinated capacity markets. A probabilistic approach for the determination of capacity requirements is proposed and a European electricity market model (E2M2s) is applied for evaluation. The model simultaneously optimizes investments and dispatch of power plants. Besides the impact on generation investments, market prices and system costs we analyze effects on production and security of supply. While coordinated capacity markets reveal high potentials for cross-border synergies and cost savings, uncoordinated and unilateral implementations can lead to inefficiencies, in particular free riding effects and endanger security of supply due to adverse allocation of generation capacity.




Energy and Agricultural Commodity Markets Interaction: An Analysis of Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Corn, Soybean, and Ethanol Prices

Song-Zan Chiou-Wei, Sheng-Hung Chen, and Zhen Zhu

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.schi
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Abstract:
This paper broadens the analysis of the interactions between energy and agricultural commodity markets by focusing on five major commodities: oil, natural gas, soybean, corn, and ethanol, and intends to provide more updated information regarding the degree of the connection among the markets. We estimate a DCC-MGARCH model to accommodate the dynamic and changing degree of interconnections among the five markets with respect to price levels and price volatilities. In doing so, we control for additional economic variables including oil and gas inventories, interest rate spread, exchange rate and economic activities. Our empirical evidence suggests that there are varying degrees of interconnections among the energy and agricultural commodities in the long term as well as the short term, but the interactions among the agricultural commodities and ethanol are generally higher than the interactions between oil and gas and agricultural markets. In addition, we reveal some weak evidence of commodity market speculation. The estimated conditional volatility correlations suggest that volatility spillovers among the markets were time dependent and dynamic.




Book Reviews

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