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Building Blocks: Investment in Renewable and Non-Renewable Technologies

  • Bushnell, James

Over the last several years, there has been a nation-wide intensification of policies directed at increasing the level of renewable sources of electricity.  These environmental policy changes have occurred against a backdrop of shifting economic regulation in power markets that has fundamentally redefined the mechanisms through which investors in power plants earn revenues. Rather than base payments upon costs, revenues in many regions are now based upon fluctuating energy prices and, in some cases, supplemental payments for installed capacity. This paper studies the interaction between these two major forces that are currently dominating the economic landscape of the electricity industry.  Using data from the western U.S., we examine how the large-scale expansion of intermittent resources of generation could influence long-run equilibrium prices and investment decisions under differing wholesale power market designs.  We find that as the level of wind penetration increases, the equilibrium investment mix of other resources shifts towards less baseload and more peaking capacity.  As wind penetration increases, an “average” wind producer earns increasingly more revenue under markets with capacity payments than those that base compensation on energy revenues.   

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p11546-2010-05-25.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 31546.

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Date of creation: 25 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:31546
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.eduEmail:


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  1. Palmer, Karen & Ando, Amy, 1998. "Getting on the Map: The Political Economy of State-Level Electricity Restructuring," Discussion Papers dp-98-19-rev, Resources For the Future.
  2. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2005. "A Capacity Market that Makes Sense," Papers of Peter Cramton 05licap, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2005.
  3. Lamont, Alan D., 2008. "Assessing the long-term system value of intermittent electric generation technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1208-1231, May.
  4. Bushnell, James, 2005. "Electricity Resource Adequacy: Matching Policies and Goals," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 11-21, October.
  5. Nemet, Gregory F., 2006. "Beyond the learning curve: factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3218-3232, November.
  6. Severin Borenstein, 2005. "The Long-Run Efficiency of Real-Time Electricity Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 93-116.
  7. Borenstein, Severin & Bushnell, James, 2000. "Electricity Restructuring: Deregulation or Reregulation?," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt22d2q3fn, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521660839 is not listed on IDEAS
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