Analysing the impact of renewable electricity support schemes on power prices: The case of wind electricity in Spain
It is sometimes argued that renewables are "expensive". However, although it is generally true that the private costs of renewable electricity generation are certainly above those of conventional electricity, that statement fails to consider the social benefits provided by electricity from renewable energy sources (RES-E), including environmental and socioeconomic ones. This paper empirically analyses an additional albeit usually neglected benefit: the reduction in the wholesale price of electricity as a result of more RES-E generation being fed into the grid. The case of wind generation in Spain shows that this reduction is greater than the increase in the costs for the consumers arising from the RES-E support scheme (the feed-in tariffs), which are charged to the final consumer. Therefore, a net reduction in the retail electricity price results, which is positive from a consumer point of view. This provides an additional argument for RES-E support and contradicts one of the usual arguments against RES-E deployment: the excessive burden on the consumer.
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