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General equilibrium, electricity generation technologies and the cost of carbon abatement: A structural sensitivity analysis

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  • Lanz, Bruno
  • Rausch, Sebastian

Abstract

Electricity generation is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, and abatement in this sector is a key determinant of economy-wide regulation costs. The complexity of an integrated representation of economic and electricity systems makes simplifying assumptions appealing, but there is no evidence in the literature on how important the pitfalls may be. The aim of this paper is to provide such evidence, drawing on numerical simulations from a suite of partial and general equilibrium models that share common technological features and are calibrated to the same benchmark data. We report two basic findings. First, general equilibrium inter-sectoral effects of an economy-wide carbon policy are large. It follows that assessing abatement potentials and price changes in the electricity sector with a partial equilibrium Marshallian demand can only provide a crude approximation of the complex demand-side interactions. Second, we provide evidence that widely used top-down representations of electricity technologies produce fuel substitution patterns that are inconsistent with bottom-up cost data. This supports the view that the parametrization of substitution possibilities with highly aggregated production functions is difficult to validate empirically. The overall picture that emerges is one of large quantitative and even qualitative differences, highlighting the role of key structural assumptions in the interpretation of climate policy projections.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 1035-1047

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:33:y:2011:i:5:p:1035-1047

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

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Keywords: Carbon policy Energy modeling Electric power sector Bottom-up Top-down General equilibrium;

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Cited by:
  1. Zhang, Da & Rausch, Sebastian & Karplus, Valerie J. & Zhang, Xiliang, 2013. "Quantifying regional economic impacts of CO2 intensity targets in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 687-701.
  2. Nicholas Rivers & Steven Groves, 2013. "The Welfare Impact of Self-supplied Water Pricing in Canada: A Computable General Equilibrium Assessment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 55(3), pages 419-445, July.
  3. Qi, Tianyu & Zhang, Xiliang & Karplus, Valerie J., 2014. "The energy and CO2 emissions impact of renewable energy development in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 60-69.
  4. Patrícia Fortes & Alfredo Marvão Pereira & Rui M. Pereira & Júlia Seixas, 2014. "Integrated technological-economic modeling platform for energy and climate policy analysis," Working Papers 148, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  5. Rausch, Sebastian & Mowers, Matthew, 2014. "Distributional and efficiency impacts of clean and renewable energy standards for electricity," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 556-585.
  6. Habermacher, Florian, 2011. "Optimal Fuel-Specific Carbon Pricing and Time Dimension of Leakage," Economics Working Paper Series 1144, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, revised Jan 2012.

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