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Emissions trading: Impact on electricity prices and energy-intensive industries

Author

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  • Manuel Frondel
  • Christoph Schmidt
  • Colin Vance

Abstract

The EU-wide Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), established in 2005, is a key pillar of Europe¿s strategy to attain compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Under this scheme, CO2 allowances have thus far been allocated largely free of charge. This paper demonstrates that such cost-free allocation, commonly called grandfathering, implies an increase in electricity prices even when strong competition prevails on electricity markets. As our estimations for Germany¿s power sector show, these price increases result in substantial windfall profits, giving rise to public skepticism and calls for an auctioning of certificates in the future. While empirical evidence on the ETS¿ impacts is scant, the findings reviewed here indicate that even in the absence of certificate auctioning, energy-intensive industry sectors, such as primary aluminum production, may suffer heavily from the ETS-induced electricity price increases. We therefore argue that an abrupt transition to a complete auctioning system may endanger the competitive position of energy-intensive industries in Europe, unless all other major industrial and transition countries are integrated into a global emissions trading system.
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Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Frondel & Christoph Schmidt & Colin Vance, 2012. "Emissions trading: Impact on electricity prices and energy-intensive industries," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 47(2), pages 104-111, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:intere:v:47:y:2012:i:2:p:104-111 DOI: 10.1007/s10272-012-0410-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jos Sijm & Karsten Neuhoff & Yihsu Chen, 2006. "CO 2 cost pass-through and windfall profits in the power sector," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 49-72, January.
    2. Damien Demailly & Philippe Quirion, 2006. "CO 2 abatement, competitiveness and leakage in the European cement industry under the EU ETS: grandfathering versus output-based allocation," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 93-113, January.
    3. Damien Demailly & Philippe Quirion, 2006. "CO2 abatement, competitiveness and leakage in the European cement industry under the EU ETS: Grandfathering vs. output-based allocation," Post-Print halshs-00639327, HAL.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2002. "The Effect on Asset Values of the Allocation of Carbon Dioxide Emission Allowances," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 51-62, June.
    5. E. Raphael Branch, 1993. "Short Run Income Elasticity of Demand for Residential Electricity Using Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 111-122.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberini, Anna & Gans, Will & Velez-Lopez, Daniel, 2011. "Residential consumption of gas and electricity in the U.S.: The role of prices and income," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 870-881, September.
    2. repec:eee:enepol:v:111:y:2017:i:c:p:268-280 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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