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Carbon abatement with renewables: Evaluating wind and solar subsidies in Germany and Spain

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  • Abrell, Jan
  • Kosch, Mirjam
  • Rausch, Sebastian

Abstract

This paper exploits the exogeneity of weather conditions to evaluate renewable energy (RE) subsidies in Germany and Spain in terms of their short-run direct program costs for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. We find that both aggregate costs and their distribution between energy producers and consumers vary significantly depending on which type of RE technology is promoted — reflecting substantial heterogeneity in production costs, temporal availability of natural resources, and market conditions, i.e., time-varying demand, carbon intensity of installed production capacities, and opportunities for cross-border trade. We estimate that the costs for reducing 1 ton of CO2 through subsidies for solar are 411 to 1944 €. Subsidizing wind entails significantly lower costs, ranging from 82 to276 €. In the short run, the economic rents for energy producers always decrease, while consumers incur four to seven times larger costs when solar is promoted but gain under RE policies promoting wind.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:169:y:2019:i:c:p:172-202
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.11.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Gugler & Adhurim Haxhimusa & Mario Liebensteiner, 2019. "Effective Climate Policy Doesn’t Have to be Expensive," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp293, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Grischa Perino & Robert Ritz & Arthur van Benthem, 2019. "Understanding overlapping policies: Internal carbon leakage and the punctured waterbed," Working Papers EPRG1910, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decarbonization; Renewable energy policies; Wind; Solar; Electricity; Program cost; Distributional impacts;

    JEL classification:

    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics

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