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On entry cost dynamics in Australia’s National Electricity Market

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  • Simshauser, P.
  • Gilmore, J.

Abstract

In theory, well designed electricity markets should deliver an efficient mix of technologies at least-cost. But energy market theories and energy market modelling are based upon equilibrium analysis and in practice electricity markets can be off-equilibrium for extended periods. Near-term spot and forward contract prices can and do fall well below, or substantially exceed, relevant entry cost benchmarks and associated long run equilibrium prices. However, given sufficient time higher prices, on average or during certain periods, create incentives for new entrant plant which in turn has the effect of capping longer-dated average spot price expectations at the estimated cost of the relevant new entrant technologies. In this article, we trace generalised new entrant benchmarks and their relationship to spot price outcomes in Australia’s National Electricity Market over the 20-year period to 2018; from coal, to gas and more recently to variable renewables plus firming, notionally provided by – or shadow priced at – the carrying cost of an Open Cycle Gas Turbine. This latest entry benchmark relies implicitly, but critically, on the gains from exchange in organised spot markets, using existing spare capacity. As aging coal plant exit, gains from exchange may gradually diminish with ‘notional firming’ increasingly and necessarily being met by physical firming. At this point, the benchmark must once again move to a new technology set.

Suggested Citation

  • Simshauser, P. & Gilmore, J., 2018. "On entry cost dynamics in Australia’s National Electricity Market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1875, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1875
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    Cited by:

    1. Simshauser, P., 2019. "On the impact of government-initiated CfD’s in Australia’s National Electricity Market," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1901, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Rai, Alan & Nunn, Oliver, 2020. "On the impact of increasing penetration of variable renewables on electricity spot price extremes in Australia," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 67-86.
    3. Simshauser, Paul, 2020. "Merchant renewables and the valuation of peaking plant in energy-only markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    4. Paul Simshauser, 2019. "On the Stability of Energy-Only Markets with Government-Initiated Contracts-for-Differences," Energies, MDPI, vol. 12(13), pages 1-24, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Variable Renewable Energy; Electricity Prices; Power System Planning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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