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The Economics of Renewable Energy Support

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Abrell

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Clemens Streitberger

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Sebastian Rausch

    () (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

This paper uses theoretical and numerical economic equilibrium models to examine optimal renewable energy (RE) support policies for wind and solar resources in the presence of a carbon externality associated with the use of fossil fuels. We emphasize three main issues for policy design: the heterogeneity of intermittent natural resources, budget-neutral financing rules, and incentives for carbon mitigation. We find that differentiated subsidies for wind and solar, while being optimal, only yield negligible efficiency gains. Policies with smart financing of RE subsidies which either relax budget neutrality or use “polluter-pays-the-price” financing in the context of budget-neutral schemes can, however, approximate socially optimal outcomes. Our analysis suggests that optimally designed RE support policies do not necessarily have to be viewed as a costly second-best option when carbon pricing is unavailable.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Abrell & Clemens Streitberger & Sebastian Rausch, 2018. "The Economics of Renewable Energy Support," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 18/286, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:18-286
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    File URL: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/mtec/cer-eth/cer-eth-dam/documents/working-papers/WP-18-286.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Carsten Helm & Mathias Mier, 2018. "Subsidising Renewables but Taxing Storage? Second-Best Policies with Imperfect Pricing," Working Papers V-413-18, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Renewable Energy; Wind; Solar; Environmental Regulation; Climate Policy; Decarbonization; Renewable Subsidies; Carbon Pricing; Heterogeneity of Natural Resources; Feed-in tariffs; Green quota;

    JEL classification:

    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis

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