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Strategic investment decisions under the nuclear power debate in Belgium


  • de Frutos Cachorro, J.
  • Willeghems, G.
  • Buysse, J.


In view of the current nuclear power debate in Belgium, we analyze how uncertainty about a nuclear phase-out, coupled with the implementation of renewable energy subsidies and nuclear taxes, affects investment capacity and productivity decisions by Belgian electricity suppliers. To achieve this goal, considering the market shares of the Belgian market, we build a Stackelberg two-step equilibrium model in which investment decisions are made in a first step under uncertainty regarding a nuclear phase-out, and productivity decisions are subsequently made in a second step for different investment possibilities found in the first step. Our analysis indicates that, regardless of subsidies, an increase in the probability of nuclear license extension results in lower levels of investment - primarily in renewable energy -. These lower investment levels in turn result in a lower total production and a higher electricity price in a subsequent period in the future. We also show that the implementation of renewable energy subsidies reduces the effect of an increase in probability of nuclear license extension on producer’s decisions regarding expanded capacity and therefore, on total future profits in the market.

Suggested Citation

  • de Frutos Cachorro, J. & Willeghems, G. & Buysse, J., 2019. "Strategic investment decisions under the nuclear power debate in Belgium," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 156-184.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:57:y:2019:i:c:p:156-184
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2019.04.006

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    More about this item


    electricity market; capacity investment decisions; stackelberg-based model; sequential two-step model; uncertainty nuclear production; renewable energy subsidies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy


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