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Measuring Market Power and the Efficiency of Alberta’s Restructured Electricity Market: An Energy-Only Market Design

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  • Brown, David P.

    (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Olmstead, Derek

    (Alberta Market Surveillance Administrator)

Abstract

We measure the degree of market power execution and inefficiencies in Alberta’s restructured electricity market. Using hourly wholesale market data from 2008 to 2014, we find that firms exercise substantial market power in the highest demand hours with limited excess production capacity. The degree of market power execution in all other hours is low. Market inefficiencies are larger in the high demand hours and elevate production costs by 14% - 19% above the competitive benchmark. This reflects 2.35% of the average market price across all hours. A recent regulatory policy clarifies that certain types of unilateral market power execution is permitted in Alberta. We find evidence that suggests that strategic behavior changed after this announcement. Market power execution increased. We illustrate that the observed earnings are often sufficient to promote investment in natural gas based technologies. However, the rents from market power execution can exceed the estimated capacity costs for certain generation technologies. We demonstrate that the energy market profits in the presence of no market power execution are generally insufficient to promote investment in new generation capacity. This stresses the importance of considering both short-run and long-run performance measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, David P. & Olmstead, Derek, 2015. "Measuring Market Power and the Efficiency of Alberta’s Restructured Electricity Market: An Energy-Only Market Design," Working Papers 2015-14, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2015_014
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    Cited by:

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    3. Tran Dang Khoa, 2018. "Market Efficiency and Market Power in Vietnam Competitive Generation Market," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 8(1), pages 181-189.
    4. David P. Brown & Andrew Eckert, 2018. "Analyzing the Impact of Electricity Market Structure Changes and Mergers: The Importance of Forward Commitments," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 52(1), pages 101-137, February.
    5. Brown, David P. & Eckert, Andrew, 2021. "Analyzing firm behavior in restructured electricity markets: Empirical challenges with a residual demand analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    6. Woo, C.K. & Milstein, I. & Tishler, A. & Zarnikau, J., 2019. "A wholesale electricity market design sans missing money and price manipulation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    7. Brown, David P. & Sappington, David E.M., 2020. "The Impacts of Load-Following Forward Contracts," Working Papers 2020-14, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    8. Brown, David P. & Eckert, Andrew, 2019. "Pricing Patterns in Wholesale Electricity Markets: Unilateral Market Power or Coordinated Behavior?," Working Papers 2019-9, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    9. David P. Brown & Andrew Eckert & James Lin, 2018. "Information and transparency in wholesale electricity markets: evidence from Alberta," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 292-330, December.
    10. Poletti, Stephen, 2021. "Market Power in the New Zealand electricity wholesale market 2010–2016," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
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    12. David Brown, 2018. "Capacity Market Design: Motivation and Challenges in Alberta’s Electricity Market," SPP Briefing Papers, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, vol. 11(12), March.
    13. Cao, K.H. & Qi, H.S. & Tsai, C.H. & Woo, C.K. & Zarnikau, J., 2021. "Energy trading efficiency in the US Midcontinent electricity markets," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 302(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity Markets; Market Power; Regulatory Policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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