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Assessing and ordering investments in polluting fossil-fueled and zero-carbon capital

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  • Oskar Lecuyer

    ()
    (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement [CIRAD] : UMR56 - CNRS : UMR8568 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - AgroParisTech)

  • Adrien Vogt-Schilb

    ()
    (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement [CIRAD] : UMR56 - CNRS : UMR8568 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales [EHESS] - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - AgroParisTech)

Abstract

Climate change mitigation requires to replace preexisting carbon-intensive capital with different types of cleaner capital. Coal power and inefficient thermal engines may be phased out by gas power and efficient thermal engines or by renewable power and electric vehicles. We derive the optimal timing and costs of investment in a low- and a zero-carbon technology, under an exogenous ceiling constraint on atmospheric pollution. Producing output from the low-carbon technology requires to extract an exhaustible resource. A general finding is that investment in the expensive zero-carbon technology should always be higher than, and can optimally start before, investment in the cheaper low-carbon technology. We then provide illustrative simulations calibrated with data from the European electricity sector. The optimal investment schedule involves building some gas capacity that will be left unused before it naturally depreciates, a process known as \textit{mothballing} or \textit{early scrapping}. Finally, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is a misleading metric to assess investment in new capacities. Optimal LCOEs vary dramatically across technologies. Ranking technologies according to their LCOE would bring too little investment in renewable power, and too much in the intermediate gas power.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00850680.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published, Energy Policy, 2013, 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.11.045
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00850680

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  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Bursztyn, Leonardo & Hemous, David, 2011. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 8660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gerlagh, R. & Kverndokk, S. & Rosendahl, K.E., 2009. "Optimal timing of climate change policy: Interaction between carbon taxes and innovation externalities," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3777015, Tilburg University.
  3. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2011. "When starting with the most expensive option makes sense : use and misuse of marginal abatement cost curves," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5803, The World Bank.
  4. Renaud Coulomb & Fanny Henriet, 2014. "The Grey Paradox: How Oil Owners Can Benefit From Carbon Regulation," PSE Working Papers hal-00818350, HAL.
  5. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard G., 2008. "Environmental and technology policies for climate mitigation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 142-162, March.
  6. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Michel Moreaux & Mabel Tidball, 2008. "Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1128-44, June.
  7. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Meunier, Guy & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2012. "How inertia and limited potentials affect the timing of sectoral abatements in optimal climate policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6154, The World Bank.
  8. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Meunier, Guy & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2013. "Should marginal abatement costs differ across sectors ? the effect of low-carbon capital accumulation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6415, The World Bank.
  9. Frederick Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 1991. "Pollution control and the Ramsey problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 215-236, June.
  10. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00850682 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Fischer, Carolyn & Toman, Michael & Withagen, Cees, 2002. "Optimal Investment in Clean Production Capacity," Discussion Papers dp-02-38, Resources For the Future.
  13. Delucchi, Mark & Lipman, Timothy, 2001. "An Analysis of the Retail and Lifecycle Cost of Battery-Powered Electric Vehicles," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt50q9060k, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  14. Ogden, Joan M. & Williams, Robert H. & Larson, Eric D., 2004. "Societal lifecycle costs of cars with alternative fuels/engines," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 7-27, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stéphane, 2014. "Marginal abatement cost curves and the optimal timing of mitigation measures," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 645-653.
  2. repec:hal:ciredw:hal-00916328 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2011. "When starting with the most expensive option makes sense : use and misuse of marginal abatement cost curves," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5803, The World Bank.
  4. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00916328 is not listed on IDEAS

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