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Incentives of carbon dioxide regulation for investment in low-carbon electricity technologies in Texas

  • Castillo, Anya
  • Linn, Joshua

This paper compares the incentives a carbon dioxide emissions price creates for investment in low carbon dioxide-emitting technologies in the electricity sector. We consider the extent to which operational differences across generation technologies - particularly, nuclear, wind and solar photovoltaic - create differences in the incentives for new investment, which is measured by the operating profits of a potential entrant. First, astylized model of an electricity system demonstrates that the composition of the existing generation system may cause electricity prices to increase by different amounts over time when a carbon dioxide price is imposed. Differences in operation across technologies therefore translate to differences in the operating profits of a potential entrant. Then, a detailed simulation model is used to consider a hypothetical carbon dioxide price of $10-$50 per metric ton for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. The simulations show that, for the range of prices considered, the increase in electricity prices is positively correlated with output from a typical wind unit, but the correlation is much weaker for nuclear and photovoltaic. Consequently, a carbon dioxide price creates much stronger investment incentives for wind than for nuclear or photovoltaic technologies in the Texas market.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 1831-1844

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:1831-1844
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Parry, Ian & Pizer, William & Fischer, Carolyn, 1998. "Instrument Choice for Environmental Protection When Technological Innovation is Endogenous," Discussion Papers dp-99-04, Resources For the Future.
  2. David Popp, 2003. "Pollution control innovations and the Clean Air Act of 1990," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 641-660.
  3. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
  4. Carlson, Curtis & Burtraw, Dallas & Cropper, Maureen & Palmer, Karen L., 1998. "Sulfur dioxide control by electric utilities : what are the gains from trade?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1966, The World Bank.
  5. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan, 2004. "Output-Based Allocations of Emissions Permits: Efficiency and Distributional Effects in a General Equilibrium Setting with Taxes and Trade," Discussion Papers dp-04-37, Resources For the Future.
  6. Joshua Linn, 2008. "Technological Modifications in the Nitrogen Oxides Tradable Permit Program," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 153-176.
  7. Weber, Thomas A. & Neuhoff, Karsten, 2010. "Carbon markets and technological innovation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 115-132, September.
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