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Working Paper 09-16 - Drivers of wholesale electricity prices in a small, open economy - Some evidence from the nuclear restart in Belgium
[Working Paper 09-16 - Marché de l’électricité : facteurs influençant la formation des prix de gros dans une petite économie ouverte - Enseignements tirés de la relance du nucléaire en Belgique]

Listed author(s):
  • Danielle Devogelaer
  • Benoît Laine
Registered author(s):

    In this paper, the impact of a nuclear downtime and subsequent restart on wholesale electricity prices on the Belgian power exchange is investigated by means of a dual methodology. First, publicly available market data is used to construct a stable statistical model that is deployed to examine the effect of nuclear power generation variations on market price outcomes. Quantifying this phenomenon, also called the merit-order effect, with the aid of econometric methods translates into an esti-mated price decrease of around 10 €/MWh for a nuclear capacity hike of 2.5 GW. The importance and impact of the openness of the Belgian market, that is, its strong reliance on cross-border energy exchanges is highlighted. Next to this empirical evidence, the optimisation tool Crystal Super Grid is used to assess the impact of the resumed availability of the nuclear reactors on several indicators characterising the Belgian and European power landscape. A positive effect on overall welfare, consumer surplus and CO2 emissions can be noticed. As regards prices, this analysis confirms the negative merit-order effect which is calculated to equal, on average over a year, 3.8 €/MWh. Nevertheless, temporary hourly excesses of 30 €/MWh can occur. The paper then describes the possible causes of divergence between the two approaches.Our findings have important policy implications as they demonstrate the need to take the downward influence of prolonged nuclear power generation on wholesale prices into consideration when revising the (timetable in the) nuclear phase-out law since it may have a delaying effect on the compulsory energy transition towards a low-carbon economy.

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    Paper provided by Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium in its series Working Papers with number 1609.

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    Date of creation: 12 Oct 2016
    Handle: RePEc:fpb:wpaper:1609
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    1. Knittel, Christopher R. & Roberts, Michael R., 2005. "An empirical examination of restructured electricity prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 791-817, September.
    2. Jacobsson, Staffan & Lauber, Volkmar, 2006. "The politics and policy of energy system transformation--explaining the German diffusion of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 256-276, February.
    3. Stefan Thoenes, 2014. "Understanding the Determinants of Electricity Prices and the Impact of the German Nuclear Moratorium in 2011," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
    4. Sébastien Phan & Fabien Roques, 2015. "Is the depressive effect of renewables on power prices contagious? A cross border econometric analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1527, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Liebl, Dominik, 2013. "Modeling and Forecasting Electricity Spot Prices: A Functional Data Perspective," MPRA Paper 50881, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Thoenes, Stefan, 2011. "Understanding the Determinants of Electricity Prices and the Impact of the German Nuclear Moratorium in 2011," EWI Working Papers 2011-6, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI).
    7. Sensfuß, Frank & Ragwitz, Mario & Genoese, Massimo, 2008. "The merit-order effect: A detailed analysis of the price effect of renewable electricity generation on spot market prices in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 3076-3084, August.
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