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Development Scenarios for the North and Baltic Sea Grid - A Welfare Economic Analysis

  • Jonas Egerer
  • Friedrich Kunz
  • Christian von Hirschhausen

The North and Baltic Sea Grid is one of the largest pan-European infrastructure projects raising high hopes regarding the potential of harnessing large amounts of renewable electricity, but also concerns about the implementation in largely nationally dominated regulatory regimes. The paper develops three idealtype development scenarios and quantifies the technical-economic effects: i) the Status quo in which engagement in the North and Baltic Sea is largely nationally driven; ii) a Trade scenario dominated by bilateral contracts and point-to-point connections; and iii) a Meshed scenario of fully interconnected cables both in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, a truly pan-European infrastructure. We find that in terms of overall welfare, the meshed solution is superior; however, from a distributional perspective there are losers of such a scheme, e.g. the incumbent electricity generators in France, Germany, and Poland, and the consumers in low-price countries, e.g. Norway and Sweden. Merchant transmission financing, based on congestion rents only, does not seem to be a sustainable option to provide sufficient network capacities, and much of the investment will have to be regulated to come about. We also find strong interdependencies between offshore grid expansion and the subsequent onshore network.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series RSCAS Working Papers with number 2012/69.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2012/69
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  1. Florian Leuthold & Hannes Weigt & Christian Hirschhausen, 2012. "A Large-Scale Spatial Optimization Model of the European Electricity Market," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 75-107, March.
  2. Malaguzzi Valeri, Laura, 2009. "Welfare and competition effects of electricity interconnection between Ireland and Great Britain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4679-4688, November.
  3. Brunekreeft, Gert & Neuhoff, Karsten & Newbery, David, 2005. "Electricity transmission: An overview of the current debate," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 73-93, June.
  4. Turvey, Ralph, 2006. "Interconnector economics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(13), pages 1457-1472, September.
  5. de Nooij, Michiel, 2011. "Social cost-benefit analysis of electricity interconnector investment: A critical appraisal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3096-3105, June.
  6. Nardi, Paolo, 2012. "Transmission network unbundling and grid investments: Evidence from the UCTE countries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 50-58.
  7. Parail, V., 2010. "Properties of Electricity Prices and the Drivers of Interconnector Revenue," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1059, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Brunekreeft, Gert, 2005. "Regulatory issues in merchant transmission investment," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 175-186, June.
  9. Doorman, Gerard L. & Frøystad, Dag Martin, 2013. "The economic impacts of a submarine HVDC interconnection between Norway and Great Britain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 334-344.
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