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CO2 cost pass through and windfall profits in the power sector

Author

Listed:
  • Sijm, J.
  • Neuhoff, K.
  • Chen, Y.

Abstract

This paper analyses the implications of the EU ETS for the power sector, notably the impact of free allocation of CO2 emission allowances on the price of electricity and the profitability of power generation. Besides some theoretical reflections, the paper presents empirical and model estimates of CO2 cost pass through, indicating that pass through rates vary between 40 and 100 percent of CO2 costs, or - in absolute terms - between 3 and 18 €/MWh, depending on the carbon intensity of the marginal production unit and other, market or technology specific factors concerned. As a result, power companies realise substantial windfall profits, indicated by empirical and model estimates presented in the paper. In order to avoid these windfall profits, the paper concludes that free allocation to power companies should be phased out in favour of auctioning.

Suggested Citation

  • Sijm, J. & Neuhoff, K. & Chen, Y., 2006. "CO2 cost pass through and windfall profits in the power sector," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0639, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0639
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    File URL: http://www.electricitypolicy.org.uk/pubs/wp/eprg0617.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Karsten Neuhoff & Kim Keats Martinez & Misato Sato, 2006. "Allocation, incentives and distortions: the impact of EU ETS emissions allowance allocations to the electricity sector," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 73-91, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Kahn, Daniel, 2005. "Allocation of CO2 Emissions Allowances in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program," Discussion Papers dp-05-25, Resources For the Future.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emissions trading; allocation; CO2 cost pass through; windfall profits; power sector;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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