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Valuing flexibility: The case of an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plant

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  • Abadie, Luis M.
  • Chamorro, José M.

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the choice between two technologies for producing electricity. In particular, the firm has to decide whether and when to invest either in a Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) power plant or in an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant, which may burn either coal or natural gas. Instead of assuming that fuel prices follow standard geometric Brownian motions, here they are assumed to show mean reversion, specifically to follow an inhomogeneous geometric Brownian motion. First we consider the opportunity to invest in a NGCC power plant. We derive the optimal investment rule as a function of natural gas price and the remaining life of the right to invest. In addition, the analytical solution for a perpetual option to invest is obtained. Then we turn to the IGCC power plant. We analyse the valuation of an operating plant when there are switching costs between modes of operation, and the choice of the best operation mode. This serves as an input to evaluate the option to invest in this plant. Finally we derive the value of an opportunity to invest either in a NGCC or IGCC power plant, i.e. to choose between an inflexible and a flexible technology, respectively. Depending on the opportunity's time to maturity, we derive the pairs of coal and gas prices for which it is optimal to invest in NGCC, in IGCC, or simply not to invest. Numerical computations involve the use of one- and two-dimensional binomial lattices that support a mean-reverting process for coal and gas prices. Basic parameter values are taken from an actual IGCC power plant currently in operation. Sensitivity of some results with respect to the underlying stochastic process for fuel price is also checked.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 1850-1881

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:30:y:2008:i:4:p:1850-1881

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  1. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D., 2002. "Option Value, Uncertainty, and the Investment Decision," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 341-374, September.
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  7. Insley, Margaret, 2002. "A Real Options Approach to the Valuation of a Forestry Investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 471-492, November.
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  9. Kandel, Eugene & Pearson, Neil D., 2001. "Flexibility versus Commitment in Personnel Management," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 515-556, December.
  10. Malcolm P. Baker & E. Scott Mayfield & John E. Parsons, 1998. "Alternative Models of Uncertain Commodity Prices for Use with Modern Asset Pricing Methods," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 115-148.
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Cited by:
  1. GAHUNGU, Joachim & SMEERS, Yves, 2011. "A real options model for electricity capacity expansion," CORE Discussion Papers 2011044, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Fernández Macho, Francisco Javier, 2011. "Stochastic Surface Models for Commodity Futures: A 2D Kalman Filter Approach," BILTOKI 2011-05, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Economía Aplicada III (Econometría y Estadística).
  3. Luis M. Abadie, 2009. "Valuation of Long-Term Investments in Energy Assets under Uncertainty," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 738-768, September.
  4. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Multi-Commodity Real Options Analysis of Power Plant Investments: Discounting Endogenous Risk Structures," FCN Working Papers 22/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  5. Fleten, Stein-Erik & Näsäkkälä, Erkka, 2003. "Gas fired power plants: Investment timing, operating flexibility and abandonment," MPRA Paper 217, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2006.
  6. Somayeh Heydari & Nick Ovenden & Afzal Siddiqui, 2012. "Real options analysis of investment in carbon capture and sequestration technology," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 109-138, February.
  7. Blum, Helcio & Legey, Luiz F.L., 2012. "The challenging economics of energy security: Ensuring energy benefits in support to sustainable development," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1982-1989.
  8. Joachim Gahungu and Yves Smeers, 2012. "A Real Options Model for Electricity Capacity Expansion," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/08, European University Institute.
  9. Luis M. Abadie & José M. Chamorro, 2009. "The Economics of Gasification: A Market-Based Approach," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 662-694, August.

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