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Income risk of EU coal-fired power plants after Kyoto

  • Abadie, Luis M.
  • Chamorro Gómez, José Manuel

Coal-fired power plants may enjoy a significant advantage relative to gas plants in terms of cheaper fuel cost. Still, this advantage may erode or even turn into disadvantage depending on CO2 emission allowance price. This price will presumably rise in both the Kyoto Protocol commitment period (2008-2012) and the first post-Kyoto years. Thus, in a carbon-constrained environment, coal plants face financial risks arising in their profit margins, which in turn hinge on their so-called "clean dark spread". These risks are further reinforced when the price of the output electricity is determined by natural gas-fired plants' marginal costs, which differ from coal plants' costs. We aim to assess the risks in coal plants' margins. We adopt parameter values estimated from empirical data. These in turn are derived from natural gas and electricity markets alongside the EU ETS market where emission allowances are traded. Monte Carlo simulation allows to compute the expected value and risk profile of coal-based electricity generation. We focus on the clean dark spread in both time periods under different future scenarios in the allowance market. Specifically, bottom 5% and 10% percentiles are derived. According to our results, certain future paths of the allowance price may impose significant risks on the clean dark spread obtained by coal plants.

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Paper provided by Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I in its series IKERLANAK with number 2008-33.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ehu:ikerla:200833
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Order Information: Postal: Dpto. de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I, Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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  1. Abadie, Luis M. & Chamorro, José M., 2008. "European CO2 prices and carbon capture investments," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2992-3015, November.
  2. Nasakkala, Erkka & Fleten, Stein-Erik, 2005. "Flexibility and technology choice in gas fired power plant investments," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 371-393.
  3. Margaret Insley, 2002. "On the option to invest in pollution control under a regime of tradable emissions allowances," Working Papers 02008, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2002.
  4. Alberola, Emilie & Chevallier, Julien & Cheze, Benoi^t, 2008. "Price drivers and structural breaks in European carbon prices 2005-2007," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 787-797, February.
  5. Douglas, Stratford & Popova, Julia, 2008. "Storage and the electricity forward premium," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1712-1727, July.
  6. Laurikka, Harri & Koljonen, Tiina, 2006. "Emissions trading and investment decisions in the power sector--a case study in Finland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1063-1074, June.
  7. Barbose, Galen & Wiser, Ryan & Phadke, Amol & Goldman, Charles, 2008. "Managing carbon regulatory risk in utility resource planning: Current practices in the Western United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3300-3311, September.
  8. Laurikka, Harri, 2006. "Option value of gasification technology within an emissions trading scheme," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3916-3928, December.
  9. Sødal, Sigbjørn & Koekebakker, Steen & Aadland, Roar, 2008. "Market switching in shipping -- A real option model applied to the valuation of combination carriers," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 183-203, August.
  10. Roques, Fabien A. & Newbery, David M. & Nuttall, William J., 2008. "Fuel mix diversification incentives in liberalized electricity markets: A Mean-Variance Portfolio theory approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1831-1849, July.
  11. Hlouskova, Jaroslava & Kossmeier, Stephan & Obersteiner, Michael & Schnabl, Alexander, 2005. "Real options and the value of generation capacity in the German electricity market," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 297-310.
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