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Decarbonizing the EU power sector: policy approaches in the light of current trends and long-term trajectories

  • Spencer, Thomas
  • Marcey, Celine
  • Colombier, Michel
  • Guerin, Emmanuel
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    ASSESSMENT European climate policy is gradually shifting towards a long-term perspec- tive. The electricity sector has a crucial role to play in the long-term decar- bonization of the EU economy. It makes up a significant share of EU emis- sions and can contribute to the reduction of emissions in other sectors, particularly buildings and transport. The EU 2008 Climate and Energy Package (CEP) took a significant step towards a low-carbon future, initi- ating a very ambitious program of renewables expansion and strengthen- ing the ETS. However, the omissions and internal inconsistencies of the CEP are becoming more and more evident. This relates in particular to the absence of long-term, comprehensive signals for decarbonization and the imbalance between the ETS, energy efficiency and renewables objectives. This risks delaying and distorting investment in low-carbon infrastructure and ideas, raising the ultimate cost of climate policy. In view of the inertias within the electricity sector, it is imperative for the EU to set a long-term signal for the decarbonization of the sector by set- ting 2030 objectives for the ETS and complementary policies. The EU’s decarbonization strategy needs to be robust against future uncertainties; strengthening a technology neutral instrument like the ETS can provide a key part of a comprehensive signal to develop the full range of decarbon- ization options. The instrument imbalance also needs to be addressed. Demand side policies should be the point of departure for supply side interventions: ETS caps should be set so as to achieve carbon scarcity after energy efficiency and RES objectives have been taken into account. A short-term adjustment of scarcity in the ETS may create some incen- tives for low-carbon investment. However, it would not address the funda- mental concern, namely the lack of policy information regarding the post 2020 environment in which these investment will amortize.

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    File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/35009/1/MPRA_paper_35009.pdf
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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 35009.

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    Date of creation: 15 Nov 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35009
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    1. Valentina Bosetti & David G. Victor, 2011. "Politics and Economics of Second-Best Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: The Importance of Regulatory Credibility," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-24.
    2. Geoffrey Rothwell, 2006. "A Real Options Approach to Evaluating New Nuclear Power Plants," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 87-54.
    3. Fankhauser, Samuel & Hepburn, Cameron, 2010. "Designing carbon markets. Part I: Carbon markets in time," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4363-4370, August.
    4. repec:cup:cbooks:9781107401419 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2011. "When starting with the most expensive option makes sense : use and misuse of marginal abatement cost curves," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5803, The World Bank.
    6. Rogge, Karoline S. & Schneider, Malte & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2011. "The innovation impact of the EU Emission Trading System -- Findings of company case studies in the German power sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 513-523, January.
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