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The social efficiency of long-term capacity reserve mechanisms

  • Finon, Dominique
  • Meunier, Guy
  • Pignon, Virginie

In Public Economics, the simple supply mechanism for a collective good is the centralised provision by government, and paid by all beneficiaries through a small and targeted tax. In the case of capacity adequacy in power supply, which could be considered as a collective good, two solutions of supply by government can be envisaged: a long-term capacity reserve contracting by the system operator (SO), and a direct installation of peaking units by the SO. However, the centralised and direct mechanisms are criticised, because of its potential to distort incentives to invest in peaking units and hence the natural functioning of energy markets. This paper analyses the different characters of a simple capacity mechanism and the safeguards used to limit its potential distortion effects. We discuss its deterrent effects on investment in peaking units. We also demonstrate its advantage in the context of hydro or mixed electricity systems exposed to the risk of exceptionally dry years.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Utilities Policy.

Volume (Year): 16 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 202-214

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:16:y:2008:i:3:p:202-214
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30478

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  1. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Reliability and competitive electricity markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 60-84, 03.
  2. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2006. "The Convergence of Market Designs for Adequate Generating Capacity," Papers of Peter Cramton 06mdfra, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2006.
  3. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2007. "Colombia Firm Energy Market," Papers of Peter Cramton 07cfem, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
  4. De Vries, Laurens J., 2007. "Generation adequacy: Helping the market do its job," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 20-35, March.
  5. Batlle, Carlos & Pérez-Arriaga, Ignacio J., 2008. "Design criteria for implementing a capacity mechanism in deregulated electricity markets," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 184-193, September.
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