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What is the value of the option to defer an investment in Transmission Expansion Planning? An estimation using Real Options


  • Henao, A.
  • Sauma, E.
  • Reyes, T.
  • Gonzalez, A.


In deregulated markets, Transmission Expansion Planning (TEP) is usually performed by a central network planner seeking to maximize social welfare. In doing that, the network planner commonly follows a traditional project valuation, considering a discounted cash flow (DCF) methodology, although incorporating uncertainty and reliability considerations. Accordingly, once the optimal transmission expansion plan is determined, the network planner frequently auctions the needed investments, obligating the investor to execute the expansion in the fixed (inflexible) terms defined in the bidding process. A key problem is that DCF does not take into account the responses of the planner when uncertainties are resolved because DCF evaluates the project with the information available today. In TEP, managerial flexibility may be valuable because optimal decisions may change over time with the release of new information. Transmission investors may want to defer or expand according to such information. The aim of this article is to estimate the value of adding some flexibility in TEP through real options. In particular, by means of using a real-option approach with binomial trees, we study the benefits for a social network planner of having the option to defer some transmission investments. Our results suggest that incorporating flexibility in TEP may increase social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Henao, A. & Sauma, E. & Reyes, T. & Gonzalez, A., 2017. "What is the value of the option to defer an investment in Transmission Expansion Planning? An estimation using Real Options," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 194-207.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:194-207
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2017.05.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Transmission Expansion Planning; Real options; Option to defer; Binomial tree; Flexibility;

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • Q47 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy Forecasting
    • L99 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Other


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