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A Capacity Market that Makes Sense

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  • Cramton, Peter
  • Stoft, Steven

Abstract

We argue that a capacity market is needed in most restructured electricity markets, and present a design that avoids the many problems found in the early capacity markets. The proposed locational capacity market pays suppliers based on their demonstrated ability to supply energy or reserves in shortage hours—hours in which there is a shortage of operating reserves. Thus, only supply that contributes to reliability is rewarded. The capacity price responds to market conditions. When capacity is scarce the capacity price is high; when capacity is plentiful the capacity price is low or zero. Market power in the capacity market is addressed by setting the capacity price based on actual capacity, rather than bid capacity, so generators cannot increase the capacity price by withholding supply. Ex post peak energy rents (the short-run energy profits of a benchmark peaking unit) are subtracted from the capacity price. Thus, a supplier does not have an incentive to create real-time shortages—the high shortage price resulting from a shortage is subtracted from the capacity price, so there is no net gain from the high price. By defining a capacity product closely tied to reliability and directly addressing market power both in the capacity market and in the spot energy market, the proposed design results in a market participants can trust to encourage efficient behavior both in the short run and long run.
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Suggested Citation

  • Cramton, Peter & Stoft, Steven, 2005. "A Capacity Market that Makes Sense," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 43-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jelect:v:18:y:2005:i:7:p:43-54
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Iñón, Javier & Stoft, Steven E., 2001. "Installed Capacity Requirements and Price Caps: Oil on the Water, or Fuel on the Fire?," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 23-34, July.
    2. Peter Cramton, 2000. "Review of the Reserves and Operable Capability Markets: New England's Experience in the First Four Months," Papers of Peter Cramton 99reserves, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 03 Jan 2000.
    3. Besser, Janet Gail & Farr, John G. & Tierney, Susan F., 2002. "The Political Economy of Long-Term Generation Adequacy: Why an ICAP Mechanism is Needed as Part of Standard Market Design," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(7), pages 53-62.
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    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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