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The price of power: The valuation of power and weather derivatives


  • Pirrong, Craig
  • Jermakyan, Martin


Pricing contingent claims on power presents numerous challenges due to (1) the unique behavior of power prices, and (2) time-dependent variations in prices. We propose and implement a model in which the spot price of power is a function of two state variables: demand (load) and fuel price. In this model, any power derivative price must satisfy a PDE with boundary conditions that reflect capacity limits and the non-linear relation between load and the spot price of power. Moreover, since power is non-storable and demand is not a traded asset, the power derivative price embeds a market price of risk. Using inverse problem techniques and power forward prices from the PJM market, we solve for this market price of risk function. During 1999-2001, the upward bias in the forward price was as large as $50/MWh for some days in July. By 2005, the largest estimated upward bias had fallen to $19/MWh. These large biases are plausibly due to the extreme right skewness of power prices; this induces left skewness in the payoff to short forward positions, and a large risk premium is required to induce traders to sell power forwards. This risk premium suggests that the power market is not fully integrated with the broader financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Pirrong, Craig & Jermakyan, Martin, 2008. "The price of power: The valuation of power and weather derivatives," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 2520-2529, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:32:y:2008:i:12:p:2520-2529

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Green, Richard J & Newbery, David M, 1992. "Competition in the British Electricity Spot Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 929-953, October.
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    3. Frank A. Wolak & Robert H. Patrick, 2001. "The Impact of Market Rules and Market Structure on the Price Determination Process in the England and Wales Electricity Market," NBER Working Papers 8248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert C. Merton, 2005. "Theory of rational option pricing," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 8, pages 229-288 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Rudkevich, Aleksandr & Duckworth, Max, 1998. "Strategic bidding in a deregulated generation market: implications for electricity prices, asset valuation and regulatory response," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-83.
    6. Helyette Geman & A. Roncoroni, 2006. "Understanding the Fine Structure of Electricity Prices," Post-Print halshs-00144198, HAL.
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    8. Francis A. Longstaff & Ashley W. Wang, 2004. "Electricity Forward Prices: A High-Frequency Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1877-1900, August.
    9. Catherine D. Wolfram, 1999. "Measuring Duopoly Power in the British Electricity Spot Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 805-826, September.
    10. Hélyette Geman & Andrea Roncoroni, 2006. "Understanding the Fine Structure of Electricity Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1225-1262, May.
    11. David M. Newbery, 1995. "Power Markets and Market Power," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 39-66.
    12. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-764.
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