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Real options approach to renewable energy investments in Mongolia

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  • Detert, Neal
  • Kotani, Koji

Abstract

Developing nations are seeking alternative energy for electricity, and one attractive alternative is renewable energy. This research analyzes changing investment environment for renewable energy with real options approach, and explores its potential in developing economies through studying the case of Mongolia under coal price uncertainty. To evaluate comparative attractiveness of either continuing to use coal-based infrastructures or switching to renewable energy, we formulate social revenue functions for the two environments, assuming that renewable energy has lower external costs, and coal prices follow geometric Brownian motion (GBM) or geometric mean-reverting (GMR) processes. We find the optimal trigger coal prices for switching technologies with some scenarios in electricity price and externality; characterize when renewable energy investments become attractive. In contrast to conventional wisdom, we identify some situations where the value of having more decision opportunities does not exceed that of a now-or-never decision for switching technologies, and welfare losses are incurred. The optimal trigger prices are higher in GBM than in GMR, and our result raises the possible risks for waiting to switch energy. To avoid welfare losses in Mongolia, the government should increase electricity prices or switch to renewable energy earlier, especially when people pay more for the removal of externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Detert, Neal & Kotani, Koji, 2013. "Real options approach to renewable energy investments in Mongolia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 136-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:56:y:2013:i:c:p:136-150
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.12.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Renewable energy investment; Real options in discrete time; Coal prices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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