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The inherent inefficiency of simultaneously feasible financial transmission rights auctions


  • Deng, Shi-Jie
  • Oren, Shmuel
  • Meliopoulos, A.P.


Empirical evidence from the New York ISO shows that the clearing prices for point-to-point congestion revenue rights, also known as financial transmission rights (FTRs), resulting from centralized auctions conducted by Independent System Operators differ significantly and systematically from the realized congestion revenues that determine the accrued payoffs of these rights. The question addressed by this paper is whether such deviations are due to price discovery errors which will eventually vanish or due to inherent inefficiencies in the auction structure. We show that even with perfect foresight of average congestion rents the clearing prices for the FTRs depend on the bid quantity and therefore may not be priced correctly in the financial transmission right (FTR) auction. In particular, we prove that quantity limits on the FTR bids may cause the auction clearing prices to differ from the bid prices. This phenomenon which is inherent in the theoretical properties of the optimization algorithm used to clear the auction, is further illustrated through numerical simulations with test systems. We conclude that price discovery alone would not remedy the discrepancy between the auction prices and the realized values of the FTRs. Secondary markets or frequent reconfiguration auctions are necessary in order to achieve such convergence.

Suggested Citation

  • Deng, Shi-Jie & Oren, Shmuel & Meliopoulos, A.P., 2010. "The inherent inefficiency of simultaneously feasible financial transmission rights auctions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 779-785, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:779-785

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hung-po Chao & Stephen Peck, 1997. "An Institutional Design for an Electricity Contract Market with Central Dispatch," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 85-110.
    2. Bushnell, James B. & Stoft, Steven E., 1997. "Improving private incentives for electric grid investment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 85-108, March.
    3. Hogan, William W, 1992. "Contract Networks for Electric Power Transmission," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 211-242, September.
    4. Bartholomew, Emily S. & Siddiqui, Afzal S. & Marnay, Chris & Oren, Shmuel S., 2003. "The New York Transmission Congestion Contract Market: Is It Truly Working Efficiently?," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 16(9), pages 14-24, November.
    5. Chao, Hung-Po & Peck, Stephen C, 1998. "Reliability Management in Competitive Electricity Markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 189-200, September.
    6. Adamson, Seabron & Noe, Thomas & Parker, Geoffrey, 2010. "Efficiency of financial transmission rights markets in centrally coordinated periodic auctions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 771-778, July.
    7. Chao, Hung-Po & Peck, Stephen, 1996. "A Market Mechanism for Electric Power Transmission," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 25-59, July.
    8. Chao, Hung-po & Peck, Stephen & Oren, Shmuel & Wilson, Robert, 2000. "Flow-Based Transmission Rights and Congestion Management," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 13(8), pages 38-58, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wobben, Magnus & Dieckmann, Birgit & Reichmann, Oleg, 2012. "Valuation of physical transmission rights—An analysis of electricity cross-border capacities between Germany and the Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 174-180.
    2. Sun, Junjie, 2005. "U.S. Financial Transmission Rights: Theory and Practice," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12266, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Bertsch, Joachim, 2015. "Is an inefficient transmission market better than none at all? On zonal and nodal pricing in electricity systems," EWI Working Papers 2015-5, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Benjamin, Richard, 2010. "A further inquiry into FTR properties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3547-3556, July.


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