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Optimal technology choice and investment timing: A stochastic model of industrial cogeneration vs. heat-only production

  • Wickart, Marcel
  • Madlener, Reinhard

In this paper we develop an economic model that explains the decision-making problem under uncertainty of an industrial firm that wants to invest in a process technology. More specifically, the decision is between making an irreversible investment in a combined heat-and-power production (cogeneration) system, or to invest in a conventional heat-only generation system (steam boiler) and to purchase all electricity from the grid. In our model we include the main economic and technical variables of the investment decision process. We also account for the risk and uncertainty inherent in volatile energy prices that can greatly affect the valuation of the investment project. The dynamic stochastic model presented allows us to simultaneously determine the optimal technology choice and investment timing. We apply the theoretical model and illustrate our main findings with a numerical example that is based on realistic cost values for industrial oil- or gas-fired cogeneration and heat-only generation in Switzerland. We also briefly discuss expected effects of a CO2 tax on the investment decision.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 934-952

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:29:y:2007:i:4:p:934-952
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  1. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-49, June.
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  11. Dobbs, Ian M., 1982. "Combined heat and power economics," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 276-285, October.
  12. Chi-Keung Woo, 1988. "Inefficiency of Avoided Cost Pricing of Cogenerated Power," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 103-113.
  13. Kenneth Rose & John F. McDonald, 1991. "Economics of Electricity Self-Generation by Industrial Firms," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 47-66.
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  15. Bonilla, David & Akisawa, Atsushi & Kashiwagi, Takao, 2003. "Modelling the adoption of industrial cogeneration in Japan using manufacturing plant survey data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 895-910, July.
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