White certificate schemes: Economic analysis and interactions with the EU ETS
This paper examines the economic, environmental and distributional impacts of an idealised tradable white certificate (TWC) scheme and shows how the impacts are modified when the scheme operates in parallel with the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). It uses simple graphical techniques to assess whether a TWC scheme will increase, decrease or have an ambiguous effect on electricity demand, wholesale and retail electricity prices, carbon emissions and investment in energy efficiency, paying particular attention to the interpretation of 'additionality'. Following a comparable analysis of the impact of the EU ETS, the paper examines the implications of introducing a white certificate scheme in a country that is already participating in the EU ETS. It compares the effect of this combination of instruments to that of the EU ETS operating in isolation. It concludes that there is no necessary link between the price of white certificates and marginal cost of energy efficiency investment, the price of electricity or the ability of the suppliers to eliminate free riders from their subsidy schemes. Also, a TWC scheme will make no contribution to reducing global carbon emissions unless and until it leads to a tightening of the EU ETS cap.
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