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The Economic Effects of Interregional Trading of Renewable Energy Certificates in the U.S. WECC

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  • Andres P. Perez, Enzo E. Sauma, Francisco D. Munoz, and Benjamin F. Hobbs

Abstract

In the U.S., individual states enact Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) for renewable electricity production with little coordination. Each state imposes restrictions on the amounts and locations of qualifying renewable generation. Using a co-optimization (transmission and generation) planning model, we quantify the long run economic benefits of allowing flexibility in the trading of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) among the U.S. states belonging to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). We characterize flexibility in terms of the amount and geographic eligibility of out-of-state RECs that can be used to meet a state’s RPS goal. Although more trade would be expected to have economic benefits, neither the size of these benefits nor the effects of such trading on infrastructure investments, CO2 emissions and energy prices have been previously quantified. We find that up to 90% of the economic benefits are captured if approximately 25% of unbundled RECs are allowed to be acquired from out of state. Furthermore, increasing REC trading flexibility does not necessarily result in either higher transmission investment costs or a substantial impact on CO2 emissions. Finally, increasing REC trading flexibility decreases energy prices in some states and increases them elsewhere, while the WECC-wide average energy price decreases.

Suggested Citation

  • Andres P. Perez, Enzo E. Sauma, Francisco D. Munoz, and Benjamin F. Hobbs, 2016. "The Economic Effects of Interregional Trading of Renewable Energy Certificates in the U.S. WECC," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:ej37-4-sauma
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Munoz, Francisco D. & Pumarino, Bruno J. & Salas, Ignacio A., 2017. "Aiming low and achieving it: A long-term analysis of a renewable policy in Chile," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 304-314.
    2. Chen, Yihsu & Zhang, Duan & Takashima, Ryuta, 2019. "Carbon emission forensic in the energy sector: Is it worth the effort?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 868-878.
    3. Özdemir, Özge & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & van Hout, Marit & Koutstaal, Paul R., 2020. "Capacity vs energy subsidies for promoting renewable investment: Benefits and costs for the EU power market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    4. Özdemir, Ö. & Hobbs, B. & van Hout, M. & Koutstaal, P., 2019. "Capacity vs Energy Subsidies for Renewables: Benefits and Costs for the 2030 EU Power Market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1927, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Valentin Bertsch & Valeria Di Cosmo, 2018. "Are Renewables Profitable in 2030? A Comparison between Wind and Solar across Europe," Working Papers 2018.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Zhang, Qi & Wang, Ge & Li, Yan & Li, Hailong & McLellan, Benjamin & Chen, Siyuan, 2018. "Substitution effect of renewable portfolio standards and renewable energy certificate trading for feed-in tariff," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 227(C), pages 426-435.
    7. Henao, Alvin & Sauma, Enzo & Gonzalez, Angel, 2018. "Impact of introducing flexibility in the Colombian transmission expansion planning," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 131-140.
    8. Munoz, Francisco D. & van der Weijde, Adriaan Hendrik & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Watson, Jean-Paul, 2017. "Does risk aversion affect transmission and generation planning? A Western North America case study," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 213-225.
    9. Bertsch, Valentin & Di Cosmo, Valeria, 2020. "Are renewables profitable in 2030 and do they reduce carbon emissions effectively? A comparison across Europe," MPRA Paper 101822, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Woo, C.K. & Olson, A. & Chen, Y. & Moore, J. & Schlag, N. & Ong, A. & Ho, T., 2017. "Does California's CO2 price affect wholesale electricity prices in the Western U.S.A.?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 9-19.
    11. Meus, Jelle & Van den Bergh, Kenneth & Delarue, Erik & Proost, Stef, 2019. "On international renewable cooperation mechanisms: The impact of national RES-E support schemes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 859-873.
    12. Wang, Ge & Zhang, Qi & Li, Yan & Mclellan, Benjamin C., 2019. "Efficient and equitable allocation of renewable portfolio standards targets among China's provinces," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 170-180.
    13. Bergen, Matías & Muñoz, Francisco D., 2018. "Quantifying the effects of uncertain climate and environmental policies on investments and carbon emissions: A case study of Chile," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 261-273.
    14. Wang, Ge & Zhang, Qi & Li, Yan & Mclellan, Benjamin C. & Pan, Xunzhang, 2019. "Corrective regulations on renewable energy certificates trading: Pursuing an equity-efficiency trade-off," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 970-982.
    15. Helgesen, Per Ivar & Tomasgard, Asgeir, 2018. "An equilibrium market power model for power markets and tradable green certificates, including Kirchhoff's Laws and Nash-Cournot competition," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 270-288.
    16. Go, Roderick S. & Munoz, Francisco D. & Watson, Jean-Paul, 2016. "Assessing the economic value of co-optimized grid-scale energy storage investments in supporting high renewable portfolio standards," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 902-913.
    17. Ramírez-Sagner, Gonzalo & Muñoz, Francisco D., 2019. "The effect of head-sensitive hydropower approximations on investments and operations in planning models for policy analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 38-47.

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