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The Energy Journal
Volume 45, Number 1



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Retail Electricity Market Restructuring and Retail Rates

Kenneth Rose, Brittany Tarufelli, and Gregory B. Upton Jr.

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.kros

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Abstract:
Prior to the 1990s, all U.S. states used a "cost of service (COS)" regulation regime in which investor-owned utilities were allowed to recover prudently incurred costs plus a rate of return on capital expenditures, and retail customers were unable to choose their electricity supplier. From 1996–2000, multiple states passed retail electricity market "restructuring." This empirical research examines the effect of retail restructuring on electricity prices to final consumers. We find that rates increased in restructured states relative to plausible counterfactuals in the years post-restructuring. But by twelve years after retail restructuring, we no longer observe any difference. We investigate plausible mechanisms, finding evidence that retail prices became more responsive to natural gas prices due to retail restructuring, the timing of which coincided with increases in natural gas prices nationally. We also test for whether restructuring had distributional effects across customer classes and find that in the short run residential customers benefited relative to industrial customers during transition periods, but that this difference does not persist into full implementation.




High-Speed Rail and Energy Productivity: Evidence from China

Yantuan Yu and Shuai Shao

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.yayu

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Abstract:
Using the difference-in-differences method combined with the propensity score matching, this study identifies the causal relationship between high-speed rail (HSR) and energy productivity in China. Furthermore, we investigate the mechanism through which HSR affects energy productivity, as well as the heterogeneity of the impact across quantiles and distances. The results show that HSR connection contributes to the improvement of energy productivity. This finding is consolidated after a potential endogeneity problem is addressed using the instrumental variable method and a variety of potential confounders are controlled through a series of robustness checks. On average, the marginal impact of HSR on energy productivity is approximately 9%. Moreover, HSR connection cannot be completely substituted by traditional railway and aviation in improving energy productivity. The heterogeneity analysis suggests that the positive energy productivity effect of HSR gradually decreases with an increasing distance to the nearest HSR station. In addition, HSR network accessibility has a significant positive effect on energy productivity, while technological innovation mediates the relationship between HSR development and energy productivity. We propose that to achieve the long-term improvement of energy productivity, policymakers should comprehensively consider both transit-oriented development and ecology-oriented development modes.




Effect of Combining Carbon Policies and Price Controls in Cross-Border Trade of Energy on Renewable Generation Investments

Juan Carlos Muñoz, Sebastian Oliva H., and Enzo Sauma

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.jmun

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Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate the combined effect of carbon policies and price controls in cross-border trade of electricity on power generation investments. It has been shown that price controls in cross-border trade of electricity may negatively affect renewable energy investments. However, the assessment of the impact of the simultaneous adoption of carbon policies and energy price controls has still not been addressed. Assessing this interaction is important to find out whether carbon policies can offset the negative impact of price controls on renewable energy investments or not. Results show that carbon policies can partially offset the negative impact of price controls, and that cap-and-trade programs are more effective to prevent this negative impact than carbon taxes. On the other hand, high levels of carbon taxes combined with price control regulation may increase renewable capacity investments, but without completely offsetting the negative effect of the price controls.




Energy Performance Certificates and the Capitalization of Utility Costs in Rents: The Potential Role of Asymmetric Information and Uncertainty

Aras Khazal and Ole Jakob Sonstebo

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.akha

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Abstract:
This paper is the first to investigate the relationship between the energy efficiency of dwellings, measured by the energy performance certificate (EPC), and utility cost inclusion in rental prices. First, we investigate potential drivers behind the decision to include utility costs in rents. We find that labeled dwellings are more likely to include utility costs and that this likelihood is higher among energy-efficient dwellings than among inefficient dwellings. Next, we surprisingly find that utility costs seem to be under-capitalized in energy-inefficient dwellings. These results are confirmed with the counterfactual decomposition approach. Overall, the findings indicate that the EPC labeling policy may be important for both landlord and tenant decision-making and may enhance market efficiency.




Decarbonizing the Residential Sector: How Prominent is Household Energy-Saving Behavior in Decision Making?

Fateh Belaid

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.fbel

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Abstract:
In addition to scrutinizing the decision process behind energy efficiency investment, this study investigates its association with energy-saving behavior. Its conceptual underpinnings are based on the intersection of behavioral change and "energy efficiency paradox" theories. Based upon a rich, disaggregated dataset representative of the French housing sector, it develops an energy-saving score based on the item response theory model, which considers household attributes and ability levels. Then this score is used as an independent factor of a multivariate probit model to examine the drivers of household investment decisions for various energy performance solutions. The results highlight that: (i) contextual and attitudinal attributes are two major drivers of energy efficiency investments, and (ii) depending on the energy solution considered, there is a significant inverse relationship between energy-savings behavior and energy efficiency investments. This reveals that environmental awareness is not necessarily a driving factor behind energy efficiency investments and emphasizes the so-called "rebound effect" issue. The results support the view that promoting energy-saving behaviors and energy efficiency investments necessitate differentiated public policies that consider both individual preferences and housing stock heterogeneity. The analysis offers valuable policy guidance and research agenda outlining future energy efficiency research priorities.




Endogenous Bad Outputs and Technical Inefficiency in U.S. Electric Utilities

Mike Tsionas and Subal C. Kumbhakar

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.mtsi

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Abstract:
In this paper, we consider a simultaneous modeling of good and bad outputs. We use an input distance function (IDF) with endogenous inputs as well as endogenous bad outputs, which is novel in the literature. Moreover, we model input efficiency to depend on the production of bad outputs which allows us to investigate whether emissions of pollutants (bad outputs) are related to technological performance (technical efficiency). We also model production of each bad output with a spatial structure separately, each depending on production of good outputs, inputs and other exogenous variables. These bad output production functions allow us to estimate both direct and indirect effects of good output on the production of bad outputs, which may be of special interest because they show the cost (to the society) in terms of releasing pollutants to the environment in order to increase production of good outputs. We apply the new technique to a data set on U.S. electric utilities with four bad outputs, three inputs and two good outputs. We used a Bayesian technique to estimate the model which is a system consisting of the input distance function, reduced form equations for each input, dynamics of inefficiency and bad output production technology—separately for each. Empirically, bad outputs are found to affect inefficiency positively. Percentage increases in inefficiency due to a percentage increase in each bad output are found to vary from 0.225% to 0.42%. Energy prices are found to be positively related to inefficiency. From the spatial specifications of bad outputs, we find that the spillover effects of increasing production of good outputs account for the majority of the total effect, indicating that neighborhood effects are more important than own effects. This means, the neighboring utilities played a crucial role indicating "contagion" of practices.




Congestion Risk, Transmission Rights, and Investment Equilibria in Electricity Markets

Simon Risanger and Jacob Mays

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.sris

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Abstract:
Financial instruments that help provide revenue certainty are fundamental for project finance in liberalized electricity markets. Improved management of locational risk caused by network congestion is becoming increasingly important with a growing share of production from geographically remote renewable resources. Nodal markets have financial transmission rights (FTRs) to enable participants to manage locational risk, but there is no evidence that FTRs have been used to support project finance. Through a stochastic equilibrium model in which market participants invest in production assets and trade risk, we show that long-term FTRs promote surplus-maximizing generation investments and reduce the cost of capital. Investors pair them with energy price hedges and thus protect themselves against both types of risk. Our results suggest that altering the definition and allocation of FTRs to match the needs of project finance, e.g., by enabling new generators to procure a long-term right at the time of interconnection, could help ensure a complete risk market and encourage efficient investments.




The Levelised Cost of Frequency Control Ancillary Services in Australia’s National Electricity Market

Joel Gilmore, Tahlia Nolan, and Paul Simshauser

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.jgil

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Abstract:
Over the period 2016–2021 Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) experienced an investment supercycle with 16,000MW of new utility-scale renewable plant commitments in a power system with a peak demand of 35,000MW, and the disorderly loss of 5,000MW of synchronous coal-fired plant. This placed strains on system security, most visibly in the distribution of the power systems' frequency, requiring material changes to the NEM's suite of Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS) markets. Utility-scale batteries are ideally suited for FCAS duties, but there is no forward price curve for FCAS markets, nor is there any systematic framework for determining equilibrium prices that might otherwise be used for investment decision-making. In this article, we develop an approach for quantifying long run equilibrium costs and stochastic spot prices in the markets for Frequency Control Ancillary Services, with the intended application being to guide the suitability of utility-scale battery investments under conditions of uncertainty and missing forward FCAS markets.




Frequent Auctions for Intraday Electricity Markets

Christoph Graf, Thomas Kuppelwieser, and David Wozabal

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.cgra

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Abstract:
Continuous trading is currently becoming the standard for intraday electricity markets. In this paper, we propose frequent auctions as a viable alternative. We argue that batching orders in auctions potentially leads to lower liquidity cost, more reliable, less noisy price signals, and allows for better alignment of market outcomes with the technical realities of the transmission grid. In an empirical study, we compare the German continuous intraday market with counterfactual outcomes from frequent auctions. We find that traded volumes tend to be higher for continuous trading; however, the auction market benefits from lower liquidity costs and less noisy price signals. Furthermore, we critically discuss the suitability of continuous trading in the presence of network constraints and technical restrictions of conventional units. Taken together these findings suggest that in sparsely traded intraday markets, pooling orders in frequent auctions may be beneficial.




Ecological Footprint and Willingness to Pay for Green Goods: Evidence from the Netherlands

Dakshina G. De Silva, Tiffany Head, Rachel A. J. Pownall, and Anita R. Schiller

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.45.1.ddes

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Abstract:
Human consumption of scarce ecological resources is at the heart of the climate change crisis. Mitigating climate change will require changes in consumer behavior. Further, to respond effectively, policymakers need information on the environmental impact of individuals’ behaviors. In this paper, we study the effect of socio-demographic characteristics and personality traits on individuals’ environmental impact measured by their ecological footprint. We also investigate consumers’ willingness to pay for "green" goods. Using survey data from the Netherlands, first, we construct individuals' ecological footprint. The survey also uses a 50-item personality scale developed by Goldberg (1992) to construct five personality traits. We find that individuals with higher personal income, less than a high school education, males, the employed, and people living in rural areas are associated with a higher EF. We also find that consumers' WTP and demand are responsive to price increases in high-emitting goods and personality traits. We contribute to our understanding of the influence of socio-demographic and personality characteristics on the actual ecological footprint at the individual level. Further, we contribute to the economic literature on consumers' WTP for "green" products as well as the ongoing discussion on using market-based solutions to tackle climate change.




Book Reviews

Petroleum Resource Management in Africa, Lessons from Ten Years of Oil and Gas Production in Ghana, edited by Theophilus Acheampong and Thomas Kojo Stephens - Book Review by: Adeola Adenikinju

OPEC and the World's Energy Future: Its Legacy and Promise, by Mohammed A. Alsahlawi - Book Review by: Jennifer Considine





 

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