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Carbon Capture by Fossil Fuel Power Plants: An Economic Analysis

Author

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  • Özge .Ic{s}legen

    () (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

  • Stefan Reichelstein

    () (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

Abstract

For fossil fuel power plants to be built in the future, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies offer the potential for significant reductions in carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions. We examine the break-even value for CCS adoptions, that is, the critical value in the charge for CO 2 emissions that would justify investment in CCS capabilities. Our analysis takes explicitly into account that the supply of electricity at the wholesale level (generation) is organized competitively in some U.S. jurisdictions, whereas in others a regulated utility provides integrated generation and distribution services. For either market structure, we find that emissions charges near $30 per tonne of CO 2 would be the break-even value for adopting CCS capabilities at new coal-fired power plants. The corresponding break-even values for natural gas plants are substantially higher, near $60 per tonne. Our break-even estimates serve as a basis for projecting the change in electricity prices once carbon emissions become costly. CCS capabilities effectively put an upper bound on the increase in electricity prices resulting from carbon regulations, and we estimate this bound to be near 30% at the retail level for both coal and natural gas plants. In contrast to the competitive power supply scenario, however, these price increases materialize only gradually for a regulated utility. The delay in price adjustments reflects that for regulated firms the basis for setting product prices is historical cost, rather than current cost. This paper was accepted by Gérard P. Cachon, accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Özge .Ic{s}legen & Stefan Reichelstein, 2011. "Carbon Capture by Fossil Fuel Power Plants: An Economic Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 21-39, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:1:p:21-39
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1268
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastiano Cupertino, 2013. "Cost-benefit analysis of carbon dioxide capture and storage considering the impact of two different climate change mitigation regimes," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(1), pages 73-89.
    2. Andreas Welling, 2017. "Green Finance: Recent developments, characteristics and important actors," FEMM Working Papers 170002, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    3. Li, Yao & Fan, Jin & Zhao, Dingtao & Wu, Yanrui & Li, Jun, 2016. "Tiered gasoline pricing: A personal carbon trading perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 194-201.
    4. Ji, Guojun & Gunasekaran, Angappa & Yang, Guangyong, 2014. "Constructing sustainable supply chain under double environmental medium regulations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(PB), pages 211-219.
    5. Hoel, Michael & Jensen, Svenn, 2012. "Cutting costs of catching carbon—Intertemporal effects under imperfect climate policy," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 680-695.
    6. Yu Zhou & Jin Fan & Dingtao Zhao & Shanyong Wang, 2016. "The impact of carbon trading on regulated agents in China," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 377-390, March.
    7. Comello, Stephen & Reichelstein, Stefan, 2014. "Incentives for early adoption of carbon capture technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 579-588.
    8. Massol, Olivier & Tchung-Ming, Stéphane & Banal-Estañol, Albert, 2015. "Joining the CCS club! The economics of CO2 pipeline projects," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, pages 259-275.
    9. Reichelstein, Stefan & Yorston, Michael, 2013. "The prospects for cost competitive solar PV power," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 117-127.
    10. Fan, Jin & He, Haonan & Wu, Yanrui, 2016. "Personal carbon trading and subsidies for hybrid electric vehicles," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 164-173.
    11. Andreas A. Renz & Christoph Weber, 2012. "A Hotelling Model for Fixed-Cost Driven Power Generation," EWL Working Papers 1206, University of Duisburg-Essen, Chair for Management Science and Energy Economics, revised Jan 2013.
    12. Barradale, Merrill Jones, 2014. "Investment under uncertain climate policy: A practitioners׳ perspective on carbon risk," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 520-535.

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