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Measuring Gains from Regional Dispatch: Coal-Fired Power Plant Utilization and Market Reforms

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  • Stratford Douglas

Abstract

This paper examines changes in the utilization rates (annual capacity factors) of coal-burning power plants in the eastern United States after 1996, when federal regulators opened the transmission system to wholesale power markets. This and other accompanying market-oriented reforms were intended to improve efficiency by encouraging regional dispatch by independent system operators. If the reforms made dispatch more efficient, then utilization rates of high-cost plants should have fallen relative to those of low-cost plants since 1996. A difference-in-difference model using plant-level panel data indicates that relative utilization rates of high-cost plants did indeed fall after 1996, but only in regions with independent system operators. Simulations indicate cost savings on the order of two to three percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Stratford Douglas, 2006. "Measuring Gains from Regional Dispatch: Coal-Fired Power Plant Utilization and Market Reforms," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 119-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2006v27-01-a06
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:regeco:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-016-9313-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chan, H. Ron & Fell, Harrison & Lange, Ian & Li, Shanjun, 2017. "Efficiency and environmental impacts of electricity restructuring on coal-fired power plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 1-18.
    3. Pollitt, Michael G., 2012. "Lessons from the history of independent system operators in the energy sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 32-48.
    4. Andreas Ferrara and Ian Lange, 2014. "Voluntary Programs to Encourage Diffusion: The Case of the Combined Heat-and-Power Partnership," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    5. Musiliu O. Oseni & Michael Pollitt, 2014. "Institutional arrangements for the promotion of regional integration of electricity markets: International Experience," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1428, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Arina Nikandrova & Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2017. "Contracting for the second best in dysfunctional electricity markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 41-71, February.
    7. Pickl, Matthias & Wirl, Franz, 2011. "Auction design for gas pipeline transportation capacity--The case of Nabucco and its open season," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2143-2151, April.
    8. Matthew Barmack & Edward Kahn & Susan Tierney, 2007. "A cost-benefit assessment of wholesale electricity restructuring and competition in New England," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 151-184, April.
    9. Pollitt, M. J., 2011. "Lessons from the History of Independent System Operators in the Energy Sector, with applications to the Water Sector," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1153, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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