U.S. Financial Transmission Rights: Theory and Practice
This paper reviews both theoretical and empirical studies of financial transmission rights (FTRs) in the major U.S. wholesale power markets. Although the current literature hold more negative views about FTRs, this paper presents a simple illustrative 2-stage model to study the competitive behaviors of electricity generators and load serving entities (LSEs) and analyzes the welfare effects of FTRs in the restructuring U.S. wholesale power market framework. The analysis focuses on a competitive two-node electricity network model where there is one generator and one LSE in each node with linear marginal cost and demand function, supervised by an independent system operator (ISO). In the first-stage of modelling, a no-rights benchmark model is developed to solve for the optimal quantity of power production and consumption and derive the locational marginal price for each node, which serve as the building blocks to solve for the optimal FTR hedge positions in the second-stage model. Once a stochastic parameter shock is introduced, the second-stage model shows that the acquisition of optimal FTRs by the risk averse generators and LSEs increases and in general strictly increases the social welfare compared with the case where there is no FTRs available. This result provides a counterexample to the somewhat negative views about FTRs held by other economists in the literature and provides some economic explanations to the fact that FTRs are widely adopted as a financial hedge instrument in the major U.S. wholesale power markets.
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