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Electricity capacity investment under risk aversion: A case study of coal, gas, and concentrated solar power

  • Fan, Lin
  • Norman, Catherine S.
  • Patt, Anthony G.

The policy instrument many economists favor to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to shift new investment towards low carbon technologies is the tradable allowance system. Experience with this instrument has been mixed, with a crucial design issue being the choice of whether to auction allowances to firms, or to grandfather them based on historical emissions. In this paper, we examine the changing incentives of investment in different technologies, when investors are risk averse and are expecting an allowance system with a certain allocation rule but do not know if the policy is going to take place in the near future. Investors also cannot fully predict future investment costs for the low-carbon technology. We apply a game theoretic model to examine the combined effects of uncertainty and risk aversion on the actions of potential investors into high and low carbon generating capacity, under both allocation rules and uncertain costs. We find that uncertainty and risk aversion do have implications towards investment incentives. We discuss policy implications of these findings.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 54-61

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:1:p:54-61
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

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  1. Fan, Lin & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Norman, Catherine S., 2010. "Risk aversion and CO2 regulatory uncertainty in power generation investment: Policy and modeling implications," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 193-208, November.
  2. Pahle, Michael, 2010. "Germany's dash for coal: Exploring drivers and factors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3431-3442, July.
  3. Williges, Keith & Lilliestam, Johan & Patt, Anthony, 2010. "Making concentrated solar power competitive with coal: The costs of a European feed-in tariff," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 3089-3097, June.
  4. Babcock, Bruce A. & Choi, E. Kwan & Feinerman, Eli, 1993. "Risk And Probability Premiums For Cara Utility Functions," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 18(01), July.
  5. Held, Hermann & Kriegler, Elmar & Lessmann, Kai & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2009. "Efficient climate policies under technology and climate uncertainty," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(Supplemen), pages S50-S61.
  6. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
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