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Comparing the risk profiles of renewable and natural gas-fired electricity contracts

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  • Wiser, Ryan
  • Bachrach, Devra
  • Bolinger, Mark
  • Golove, William

Abstract

Electricity policymakers, industry participants, analysts, and even consumers have become acutely aware of the ever-present risks that face the delivery of electricity. Recent instability in the electricity industry illustrates the need for thoughtful resource planning to balance the cost, reliability, and risk of electricity supply. This article evaluates the relative risk profiles of renewable and natural gas generating plants. It does so by analyzing how six different risks are allocated and, if possible, mitigated in long-term power purchase contracts, taking as a contract sample 27 agreements signed by the California Department of Water Resources in 2001. This assessment illustrates some of the significant differences between the risk profiles of natural gas-fired and renewable generation. Renewable energy contracts are shown to provide the most value relative to natural gas-fired contracts by mitigating fuel price and environmental compliance risks. Gas-fired electricity contracts typically provide better protection against short-term demand risk. When it comes to fuel supply, performance, and regulatory risks, the relative value of renewable and gas-fired contracts is ambiguous. We conclude that a better understanding of risks and risk allocation practices will help utilities, regulators, and others make more objective decisions in the future when selecting between renewable and gas-fired electricity supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Wiser, Ryan & Bachrach, Devra & Bolinger, Mark & Golove, William, 2004. "Comparing the risk profiles of renewable and natural gas-fired electricity contracts," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 335-363, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:8:y:2004:i:4:p:335-363
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Repetto, R. & Henderson, J., 2003. "Environmental exposures in the US electric utility industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 103-111, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Ramos-Real, Francisco Javier, 2010. "Electricity generation cost in isolated system: The complementarities of natural gas and renewables in the Canary Islands," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 2808-2818, December.
    2. Guerrero-Lemus, Ricardo & Marrero, Gustavo A. & Puch, Luis A., 2012. "Costs for conventional and renewable fuels and electricity in the worldwide transport sector: A mean–variance portfolio approach," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 178-188.
    3. Perez, Yannick & Ramos-Real, Francisco Javier, 2009. "The public promotion of wind energy in Spain from the transaction costs perspective 1986-2007," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 1058-1066, June.
    4. Losekann, Luciano & Marrero, Gustavo A. & Ramos-Real, Francisco J. & de Almeida, Edmar Luiz Fagundes, 2013. "Efficient power generating portfolio in Brazil: Conciliating cost, emissions and risk," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 301-314.
    5. Salehizadeh, Mohammad Reza & Soltaniyan, Salman, 2016. "Application of fuzzy Q-learning for electricity market modeling by considering renewable power penetration," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1172-1181.
    6. Fagiani, Riccardo & Barquín, Julián & Hakvoort, Rudi, 2013. "Risk-based assessment of the cost-efficiency and the effectivity of renewable energy support schemes: Certificate markets versus feed-in tariffs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 648-661.
    7. Gustavo A. Marrero & Luis A. Puch & Francisco Javier Ramos-Real, 2010. "Riesgo y costes medios en la generación de electricidad: diversificación e implicaciones de política energética," Economic Reports 13-2010, FEDEA.
    8. Roques, Fabien A., 2008. "Technology choices for new entrants in liberalized markets: The value of operating flexibility and contractual arrangements," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 245-253, December.
    9. Roques, Fabien A. & Newbery, David M. & Nuttall, William J., 2008. "Fuel mix diversification incentives in liberalized electricity markets: A Mean-Variance Portfolio theory approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1831-1849, July.
    10. Hauteclocque, Adrien de & Glachant, Jean-Michel, 2009. "Long-term energy supply contracts in European competition policy: Fuzzy not crazy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5399-5407, December.
    11. Agnolucci, Paolo, 2008. "Factors influencing the likelihood of regulatory changes in renewable electricity policies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 141-161, January.
    12. Gross, Robert & Blyth, William & Heptonstall, Philip, 2010. "Risks, revenues and investment in electricity generation: Why policy needs to look beyond costs," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 796-804, July.
    13. Barbose, Galen & Wiser, Ryan & Phadke, Amol & Goldman, Charles, 2008. "Managing carbon regulatory risk in utility resource planning: Current practices in the Western United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3300-3311, September.
    14. Dornan, Matthew & Jotzo, Frank, 2015. "Renewable technologies and risk mitigation in small island developing states: Fiji’s electricity sector," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 35-48.
    15. LaBelle, Michael, 2012. "Constructing post-carbon institutions: Assessing EU carbon reduction efforts through an institutional risk governance approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 390-403.

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