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Cross-country electricity trade, renewable energy and European transmission infrastructure policy


  • Abrell, Jan
  • Rausch, Sebastian


This paper develops a multi-country multi-sector general equilibrium model, integrating high-frequency electricity dispatch and trade decisions, to study the effects of electricity transmission infrastructure (TI) expansion and renewable energy (RE) penetration in Europe for gains from trade and carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector. TI can benefit or degrade environmental outcomes, depending on RE penetration: it complements emissions abatement by mitigating dispatch problems associated with volatile and spatially dispersed RE but also promotes higher average generation from low-cost coal if RE production is too low. Against the backdrop of European decarbonization and planned TI expansion, we find that emissions increase for current and targeted year-2020 levels of RE production and decrease for year-2030 targets. Enhanced TI yields sizeable gains from trade that depend positively on RE penetration, without creating large adverse impacts on regional equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Abrell, Jan & Rausch, Sebastian, 2016. "Cross-country electricity trade, renewable energy and European transmission infrastructure policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 87-113.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:79:y:2016:i:c:p:87-113
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2016.04.001

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Abrell & Mirjam Kosch & Sebastian Rausch, 2017. "The Economic Cost of Carbon Abatement with Renewable Energy Policies," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 17/273, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    2. Claudia Kemfert & Clemens Gerbaulet & Christian von Hirschhausen, 2016. "Stromnetze und Speichertechnologien für die Energiewende - eine Analyse mit Bezug zur Diskussion des EEG 2016: Gutachten im Auftrag der Hermann-Scheer-Stiftung," DIW Berlin: Politikberatung kompakt, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, edition 0, volume 112, number pbk112.
    3. Arina Nikandrova & Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2017. "Contracting for the second best in dysfunctional electricity markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 41-71, February.
    4. Assembayeva, Makpal & Egerer, Jonas & Mendelevitch, Roman & Zhakiyev, Nurkhat, 2018. "A spatial electricity market model for the power system: The Kazakhstan case study," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 762-778.
    5. Massol, Olivier & Rifaat, Omer, 2018. "Phasing out the U.S. Federal Helium Reserve: Policy insights from a world helium model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 186-211.
    6. Bistline, John & Santen, Nidhi & Young, David, 2019. "The economic geography of variable renewable energy and impacts of trade formulations for renewable mandates," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 79-96.
    7. Koltsaklis, Nikolaos E. & Nazos, Konstantinos, 2017. "A stochastic MILP energy planning model incorporating power market dynamics," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 1364-1383.
    8. Nikolaos E. Koltsaklis & Athanasios S. Dagoumas, 2018. "Transmission Expansion and Electricity Trade: A Case Study of the Greek Power System," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 8(5), pages 64-71.
    9. Rinne, Sonja, 2018. "Radioinactive: Are nuclear power plant outages in France contagious to the German electricity price?," CIW Discussion Papers 3/2018, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    10. Helgesen, Per Ivar & Tomasgard, Asgeir, 2018. "From linking to integration of energy system models and computational general equilibrium models – Effects on equilibria and convergence," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 1218-1233.
    11. Abrell, Jan & Kosch, Mirjam & Rausch, Sebastian, 2019. "Carbon abatement with renewables: Evaluating wind and solar subsidies in Germany and Spain," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 172-202.
    12. Taran Faehn & Gabriel Bachner & Robert Beach & Jean Chateau & Shinichiro Fujimori & Madanmohan Ghosh & Meriem Hamdi-Cherif & Elisa Lanzi & Sergey Paltsev & Toon Vandyck & Bruno Cunha & Rafael Garaffa , 2020. "Capturing Key Energy and Emission Trends in CGE Models: Assessment of Status and Remaining Challenges," CESifo Working Paper Series 8072, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Helm, Carsten & Mier, Mathias, 2019. "On the efficient market diffusion of intermittent renewable energies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 812-830.
    14. Koltsaklis, Nikolaos E. & Dagoumas, Athanasios S., 2018. "State-of-the-art generation expansion planning: A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 230(C), pages 563-589.
    15. Mathias Mier & Christoph Weissbart, 2019. "Power Markets in Transition: Decarbonization, Energy Efficiency, and Short-Term Demand Response," ifo Working Paper Series 284, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    16. George Halkos & Mike G. Tsionas, 2019. "Accounting for Heterogeneity in Environmental Performance Using Data Envelopment Analysis," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 54(3), pages 1005-1025, October.
    17. Chen, Weidong & Wei, Pengbang, 2018. "Socially optimal deployment strategy and incentive policy for solar photovoltaic community microgrid: A case of China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 86-94.
    18. Makpal Assembayeva & Jonas Egerer & Roman Mendelevitch & Nurkhat Zhakiyev, 2017. "A Spatial Electricity Market Model for the Power System of Kazakhstan," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1659, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    19. Jan Abrell and Hannes Weigt, 2016. "The Short and Long Term Impact of Europe's Natural Gas Market on Electricity Markets until 2050," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Sustainab).
    20. Christoph Weissbart, 2018. "Decarbonization of Power Markets under Stability and Fairness: Do They Influence Efficiency?," ifo Working Paper Series 270, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

    More about this item


    Cross-country electricity trade; Transmission infrastructure policy; Renewable energy; Market integration; Carbon dioxide emissions; General equilibrium modeling;

    JEL classification:

    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models


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