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Nuclear Power: a Hedge against Uncertain Gas and Carbon Prices?

  • Roques, F.A.
  • Nuttall, W.J.
  • Newbery, D.M.
  • de Neufville, R.

High fossil fuel prices have rekindled interest in nuclear power. This paper identifies specific nuclear characteristics making it unattractive to merchant generators in liberalised electricity markets, and argues that non-fossil fuel technologies have an overlooked ‘option value’ given fuel and carbon price uncertainty. Stochastic optimisation estimates the company option value of keeping open the choice between nuclear and gas technologies. This option value decreases sharply as the correlation between electricity, gas, and carbon prices rises, casting doubt on whether private investors’ fuel-mix diversification incentives in electricity markets are aligned with the social value of a diverse fuel-mix.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0555.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0555
Note: IO, EPRG
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Awerbuch, Shimon & Sauter, Raphael, 2006. "Exploiting the oil-GDP effect to support renewables deployment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 2805-2819, November.
  2. Frayer, Julia & Uludere, Nazli Z., 2001. "What Is It Worth? Application of Real Options Theory to the Valuation of Generation Assets," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 14(8), pages 40-51, October.
  3. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  4. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-22, June.
  5. Gollier, Christian & Proult, David & Thais, Francoise & Walgenwitz, Gilles, 2005. "Choice of nuclear power investments under price uncertainty: Valuing modularity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 667-685, July.
  6. Murto, Pauli & Nese, Gjermund, 2002. "Input price risk and optimal timing of energy investment: choice between fossil- and biofuels," Working Papers in Economics 15/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  7. Robert S. Pindyck, 1992. "Investments of Uncertain Cost," NBER Working Papers 4175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Li, Ying & Flynn, Peter C., 2004. "Deregulated power prices: comparison of volatility," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(14), pages 1591-1601, September.
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