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Economic properties of wind power: A European assessment

  • Boccard, Nicolas

We investigate the concomitance of intermittent wind powered generation (WPG) with load to assess its system value as the cost of replacing its output, hour by hour, using more intensively thermal technologies. The difference with its actual cost defines a social cost of wind power which is further divided into a technological and an adequacy component. Whereas the former may become negligible once thermal technologies pay for carbon emissions, the latter is a lower bound on WPG structural weakness w.r.t. thermal technologies. We apply our procedure to Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Portugal and Ireland using hourly load and WPG data over several years. Our empirical findings show that there is a grain of truth in both the pros and the cons of wind power. The system value of WPG varies from three quarters of the equivalent thermal cost of electricity (on a yearly basis) but the incompressible adequacy cost represents a premium over the cost of serving yearly load in a system ranging around one-fifth.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 3232-3244

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:7:p:3232-3244
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Dinica, Valentina, 2008. "Initiating a sustained diffusion of wind power: The role of public-private partnerships in Spain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3562-3571, September.
  2. Boccard, Nicolas, 2009. "Capacity factor of wind power realized values vs. estimates," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2679-2688, July.
  3. Martin, Brian & Diesendorf, Mark, 1983. "The economics of large-scale wind power in the UK A model of an optimally mixed CEGB electricity grid," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 259-266, September.
  4. Finon, Dominique & Meunier, Guy & Pignon, Virginie, 2008. "The social efficiency of long-term capacity reserve mechanisms," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 202-214, September.
  5. Kennedy, Scott, 2005. "Wind power planning: assessing long-term costs and benefits," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(13), pages 1661-1675, September.
  6. Sinden, Graham, 2007. "Characteristics of the UK wind resource: Long-term patterns and relationship to electricity demand," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 112-127, January.
  7. DeCarolis, Joseph F. & Keith, David W., 2006. "The economics of large-scale wind power in a carbon constrained world," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 395-410, March.
  8. Munksgaard, Jesper & Morthorst, Poul Erik, 2008. "Wind power in the Danish liberalised power market--Policy measures, price impact and investor incentives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3940-3947, October.
  9. Dale, Lewis & Milborrow, David & Slark, Richard & Strbac, Goran, 2004. "Total cost estimates for large-scale wind scenarios in UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(17), pages 1949-1956, November.
  10. Bolinger, Mark & Wiser, Ryan, 2009. "Wind power price trends in the United States: Struggling to remain competitive in the face of strong growth," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1061-1071, March.
  11. Oswald, James & Raine, Mike & Ashraf-Ball, Hezlin, 2008. "Will British weather provide reliable electricity?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 3202-3215, August.
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