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Long-Run Cost Functions for Electricity Transmission

  • Juan Rosellón
  • Ingo Vogelsang
  • Hannes Weigt

Electricity transmission has become the pivotal industry segment for electricity restructuring. Yet, little is known about the shape of transmission cost functions. Reasons for this can be a lack of consensus about the definition of transmission output and the complexitity of the relationship between optimal grid expansion and output expansion. Knowledge of transmission cost functions could help firms (Transcos) and regulators plan transmission expansion and could help design regulatory incentive mechanisms. We explore transmission cost functions when the transmission output is defined as point-to-point transactions or financial transmission right (FTR) obligations and particularly explore expansion under loop-flows. We test the behavior of FTR-based cost functions for distinct network topologies and find evidence that cost functions defined as FTR outputs are piecewise differentiable and that they contain sections with negative marginal costs. Simulations, however, illustrate that such unusual properties do not stand in the way of applying price-cap incentive mechanisms to real-world transmission expansion.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1020.

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Length: 27 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1020
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  1. Oren, Shmuel S. & Spiller, Pablo T. & Varaiya, Pravin & Wu, Felix, 1995. "Nodal prices and transmission rights: A critical appraisal," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 24-35, April.
  2. Chao, Hung-Po & Peck, Stephen, 1996. "A Market Mechanism for Electric Power Transmission," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 25-59, July.
  3. Bushnell, James B & Stoft, Steven E, 1996. "Electric Grid Investment under a Contract Network Regime," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 61-79, July.
  4. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Merchant Transmission Investment," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 233-264, 06.
  5. Ingo Vogelsang, 2006. "Electricity Transmission Pricing and Performance-based Regulation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 97-126.
  6. Hogan, William W, 1992. "Contract Networks for Electric Power Transmission," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 211-42, September.
  7. Wu, Felix, et al, 1996. "Folk Theorems on Transmission Access: Proofs and Counterexamples," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-23, July.
  8. Vogelsang, Ingo, 2001. "Price Regulation for Independent Transmission Companies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 141-65, September.
  9. Makoto Tanaka, 2007. "Extended Price Cap Mechanism for Efficient Transmission Expansion under Nodal Pricing," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 257-275, September.
  10. Juan Rosellon & Hannes Weigt, 2007. "A Combined Merchant-Regulatory Mechanism for Electricity Transmission Expansion in Europe," Working papers DTE 396, CIDE, División de Economía.
  11. Thomas-Olivier Leautier, 2000. "Regulation of an Electric Power Transmission Company," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 61-92.
  12. Bushnell, James B. & Stoft, Steven E., 1997. "Improving private incentives for electric grid investment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 85-108, March.
  13. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1996. "Creating Competition through Interconnection: Theory and Practice," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 227-56, November.
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