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The More Cooperation, The More Competition? A Cournot Analysis of the Benefits of Electric Market Coupling


  • Benjamin F. Hobbs
  • Fieke A.M. Rijkers
  • Maroeska G. Boots


If barriers between two power markets are eliminated, what might happen to competition and prices? And who benefits? In the case of the Belgian and Dutch markets, market coupling would permit more efficient use of transmission by improving access to the Belgian market, by counting only net flows against interface limits, and by eliminating mismatches in timing of interface auctions and energy spot markets. We estimate the benefits associated with the first two of these impacts using a transmission-constrained Cournot model. Social surplus improvements on the order of 108 Û/year are projected, unless market coupling encourages the largest producer in the region to switch from price-taking in Belgium to a Cournot strategy due to a perceived diminished threat of regulatory intervention. Whether Dutch consumers would benefit also depends on that companyÕs behavior. The results illustrate how large-scale oligopoly models can be used to assess changes in market designs.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin F. Hobbs & Fieke A.M. Rijkers & Maroeska G. Boots, 2005. "The More Cooperation, The More Competition? A Cournot Analysis of the Benefits of Electric Market Coupling," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 69-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2005v26-04-a05

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Meeus, Leonardo, 2011. "Implicit auctioning on the Kontek Cable: Third time lucky?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 413-418, May.
    2. Alexander Zerrahn & Daniel Huppmann, 2014. "Network Expansion to Mitigate Market Power: How Increased Integration Fosters Welfare," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1380, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Lise, Wietze & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Hers, Sebastiaan, 2008. "Market power in the European electricity market--The impacts of dry weather and additional transmission capacity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1331-1343, April.
    4. Gebhardt, Georg & Höffler, Felix, 2008. "How to Determine whether Regional Markets are Integrated? Theory and Evidence from European Electricity Markets," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 236, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Yihsu Chen & Jos Sijm & Benjamin Hobbs & Wietze Lise, 2008. "Implications of CO 2 emissions trading for short-run electricity market outcomes in northwest Europe," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 251-281, December.
    6. Kristiansen, Tarjei, 2007. "An assessment of the Danish-German cross-border auctions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 3369-3382, June.
    7. Gore, Olga & Vanadzina, Evgenia & Viljainen, Satu, 2016. "Linking the energy-only market and the energy-plus-capacity market," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 52-61.
    8. Lise, Wietze & Kruseman, Gideon, 2008. "Long-term price and environmental effects in a liberalised electricity market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 230-248, March.
    9. Luigi De Paoli & Elena Fumagalli, 2013. "Estimating welfare losses and gains in explicit auctions for power trade: an application to the Italian case," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 153-181.
    10. McInerney, Celine & Bunn, Derek, 2013. "Valuation anomalies for interconnector transmission rights," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 565-578.
    11. Baldursson, Fridrik M & Lazarczyk, Ewa & Ovaere, Marten & Proost, Stef, 2017. "Cross-border Exchange and Sharing of Generation Reserve Capacity," Working Paper Series 1178, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    12. Malaguzzi Valeri, Laura, 2009. "Welfare and competition effects of electricity interconnection between Ireland and Great Britain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4679-4688, November.
    13. Torriti, Jacopo, 2014. "Privatisation and cross-border electricity trade: From internal market to European Supergrid?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 635-640.
    14. Adriaan Weijde & Benjamin Hobbs, 2011. "Locational-based coupling of electricity markets: benefits from coordinating unit commitment and balancing markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 223-251, June.
    15. Figueiredo, Nuno Carvalho & Silva, Patrícia Pereira da & Cerqueira, Pedro A., 2015. "Evaluating the market splitting determinants: evidence from the Iberian spot electricity prices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 218-234.
    16. repec:kap:netspa:v:17:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11067-017-9338-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Georg Gebhardt and Felix Hoffler, 2013. "How Competitive is Cross-border Trade of Electricity? Theory and Evidence from European Electricity Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    18. Nepal, Rabindra & Jamasb, Tooraj, 2012. "Interconnections and market integration in the Irish Single Electricity Market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 425-434.
    19. Creti, Anna & Fumagalli, Eileen & Fumagalli, Elena, 2010. "Integration of electricity markets in Europe: Relevant issues for Italy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6966-6976, November.
    20. Füss, Roland & Mahringer, Steffen & Prokopczuk, Marcel, 2013. "Electricity Spot and Derivatives Pricing when Markets are Interconnected," Working Papers on Finance 1323, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    21. Jan Horst Keppler, Sebastien Phan, and Yannick Le Pen, 2016. "The Impacts of Variable Renewable Production and Market Coupling on the Convergence of French and German Electricity Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    22. Pellini, Elisabetta, 2012. "Measuring the impact of market coupling on the Italian electricity market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 322-333.
    23. Ringler, Philipp & Keles, Dogan & Fichtner, Wolf, 2017. "How to benefit from a common European electricity market design," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 629-643.
    24. Machiel Mulder, 2015. "Competition in the Dutch Electricity Market: An Empirical Analysis over 2006-2011," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    25. Oseni, Musiliu O. & Pollitt, Michael G., 2016. "The promotion of regional integration of electricity markets: Lessons for developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 628-638.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General


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