The impact of carbon prices on generation-cycling costs
The introduction of mechanisms aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions can have a serious impact on electricity system costs. A carbon mechanism that forces generators to internalise their emissions costs may alter the merit order in which generators are dispatched in the market. Heavy carbon dioxide polluters may switch from operating continuously to having to operate on the margin more often. This results in these units being required to switch on and off and vary their output more frequently, which has a significant impact on their costs. In this paper, the impact of carbon prices on the operating profiles of generators in a real electricity system is investigated. A large number of potential scenarios are considered and it is found that carbon prices significantly increase the cycling costs. These increased cycling costs significantly offset the carbon dioxide reduction benefits of the carbon price.
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