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Investing in biogas: Timing, technological choice and the value of flexibility from input mix

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  • Di Corato, Luca
  • Moretto, Michele

Abstract

In a stochastic dynamic frame, we study the technology choice problem of a continuous co-digestion biogas plant where input factors are substitutes but need to be mixed together to provide output. Given any initial rule for the composition of the feedstock, we consider the possibility of revising it if economic circumstances make it profitable. Flexibility in the mix is an advantage under randomly fluctuating input costs and comes at a higher investment cost. We show that the degree of flexibility in the productive technology installed depends on the value of the option to profitably re-arrange the input mix. Such option adds value to the project in that it provides a device for hedging against fluctuations in the input relative convenience. Accounting for such value we discuss the trade-off between investment timing and profit smoothing flexibility.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1186-1193

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:33:y:2011:i:6:p:1186-1193

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Keywords: Real options; Flexibility; Technological choice; Renewable energy; Biomass; Anaerobic digestion;

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References

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  1. Alvarez, Luis H.R. & Stenbacka, Rune, 2007. "Partial outsourcing: A real options perspective," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 91-102, February.
  2. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  3. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
  4. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The valuation of options for alternative stochastic processes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 145-166.
  5. Mæng, H. & Lund, H. & Hvelplund, F., 1999. "Biogas plants in Denmark: technological and economic developments," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-4), pages 195-206, September.
  6. Michele Moretto & Gianpaolo Rossini, 2008. "Vertical Integration and Operational Flexibility," Working Papers 2008.37, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Wang, Li Ming & Liu, Li Wen & Wang, Yong Jie, 2007. "Capacity decisions and supply price games under flexibility of backward integration," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1-2), pages 85-96, October.
  8. He, Hua. & Pindyck, Robert S., 1989. "Investments in flexible production capacity," Working papers 2102-89., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. Triantis, Alexander J & Hodder, James E, 1990. " Valuing Flexibility as a Complex Option," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 549-65, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Di Corato, Luca & Montinari, Natalia, 2014. "Flexible waste management under uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 234(1), pages 174-185.
  2. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2009. "Booms, Recessions and Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look at Investment Decisions under Cyclical Uncertainty," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 225, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  3. Carrosio, Giovanni, 2013. "Energy production from biogas in the Italian countryside: Policies and organizational models," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 3-9.
  4. Wittmann, Nadine & Yildiz, Özgür, 2013. "A microeconomic analysis of decentralized small scale biomass based CHP plants—The case of Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 123-129.
  5. Luca Di Corato & Natalia Montinari, 2013. "Flexible Waste Management under Uncertainty," Working Papers 2013.03, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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