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The Performance of U.S. Wind and Solar Generating Units

  • Richard Schmalensee

Government subsidies have driven rapid growth in U.S. wind and solar generation. Using data on hourly outputs and prices for 25 wind and nine solar generating plants, some results of those subsidies are studied in detail: the value of these plants' outputs, the variability of output at plant and regional levels, and the variation in performance among plants and regions. Output from solar plants was about 32% more valuable on average than output from wind plants. Output variability differs substantially among plants and, on some dimensions, among regions. Policy implications of high generation when prices are negative and dramatic differences in capacity factors are discussed.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19509.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19509
Note: EEE IO
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  1. Hogan, William W, 1992. "Contract Networks for Electric Power Transmission," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 211-42, September.
  2. Lewis, Geoffrey McD., 2010. "Estimating the value of wind energy using electricity locational marginal price," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3221-3231, July.
  3. Ueckerdt, Falko & Hirth, Lion & Luderer, Gunnar & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2013. "System LCOE: What are the costs of variable renewables?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 61-75.
  4. Richard Schmalensee, 2012. "Evaluating Policies to Increase Electricity Generation from Renewable Energy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(1), pages 45-64.
  5. Richard Green & Nicholas Vasilakos, 2010. "Storing Wind for a Rainy Day: What Kind of Electricity Does Denmark Export?," Discussion Papers 10-19, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul L. Joskow & Richard Schmalensee, 1985. "The Performance of Coal-Burning Electric Generating Units in the United States: 1960-1980," Working papers 379, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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