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Efficient Electricity Portfolios for Switzerland and the United States


  • Boris Krey

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

  • Peter Zweifel

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)


This study applies financial portfolio theory to determine efficient electricity-generating technology mixes for Switzerland and the United States. Expected returns are given by the (negative of the) rate of increase of power generation cost. Volatility of returns relates to the standard deviation of the cost increase associated with the portfolio, which contains Nuclear, Run of river, Storage hydro and Solar in the case of Switzerland, and Coal, Nuclear, Gas, Oil, and Wind in the case of the United States. Since shocks in generation costs are found to be correlated, the seemingly unrelated regression estimation (SURE) method is applied for filtering out the systematic component of the covariance matrix of the cost changes. Results suggest that at observed generation costs in 2003, the maximum expected return (MER) portfolio for Switzerland would call for a shift towards Nuclear and Solar, and therefore away from Run of river and Storage hydro. By way of contrast, the minimum variance (MV) portfolio mainly contains Nuclear power and Storage hydro. The 2003 MER portfolio for the United States contains Coal generated electricity and Wind, while the MV alternative combines Coal, Nuclear, Oil and Wind. Interestingly, Gas does not play any role in the determination of efficient electricity portfolios in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Boris Krey & Peter Zweifel, 2006. "Efficient Electricity Portfolios for Switzerland and the United States," SOI - Working Papers 0602, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0602

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. de-Llano Paz, Fernando & Antelo, Susana Iglesias & Calvo Silvosa, Anxo & Soares, Isabel, 2014. "The technological and environmental efficiency of the EU-27 power mix: An evaluation based on MPT," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 67-81.
    2. Madlener, Reinhard & Glensk, Barbara & Weber, Veronika, 2011. "Fuzzy Portfolio Optimization of Onshore Wind Power Plants," FCN Working Papers 10/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Jul 2014.
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:7:p:883-:d:103217 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Zhu, Lei & Fan, Ying, 2010. "Optimization of China's generating portfolio and policy implications based on portfolio theory," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1391-1402.
    5. deLlano-Paz, Fernando & Calvo-Silvosa, Anxo & Iglesias Antelo, Susana & Soares, Isabel, 2015. "The European low-carbon mix for 2030: The role of renewable energy sources in an environmentally and socially efficient approach," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 49-61.
    6. Gotham, Douglas & Muthuraman, Kumar & Preckel, Paul & Rardin, Ronald & Ruangpattana, Suriya, 2009. "A load factor based mean-variance analysis for fuel diversification," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 249-256, March.
    7. Delarue, Erik & De Jonghe, Cedric & Belmans, Ronnie & D'haeseleer, William, 2011. "Applying portfolio theory to the electricity sector: Energy versus power," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 12-23, January.
    8. Roques, Fabien A. & Newbery, David M. & Nuttall, William J., 2008. "Fuel mix diversification incentives in liberalized electricity markets: A Mean-Variance Portfolio theory approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1831-1849, July.
    9. Westner, Günther & Madlener, Reinhard, 2010. "The benefit of regional diversification of cogeneration investments in Europe: A mean-variance portfolio analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 7911-7920, December.
    10. repec:wsi:ijtafx:v:13:y:2010:i:04:n:s0219024910005899 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Puch, Luis A. & Ramos-Real, Francisco J., 2015. "Mean-variance portfolio methods for energy policy risk management," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 246-264.
    12. repec:eee:rensus:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:636-651 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Fernando de Llano Paz & Anxo Calvo Silvosa & Martín Portos García, 2012. "The Problem of Determining the Energy Mix: from the Portfolio Theory to the Reality of Energy Planning in the Spanish Case," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(4), pages 3-30.
    14. repec:ers:journl:v:xv:y:2012:i:sie:p:3-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Locatelli, Giorgio & Mancini, Mauro, 2011. "Large and small baseload power plants: Drivers to define the optimal portfolios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7762-7775.
    16. Madlener, Reinhard & Wenk, Christioph, 2008. "Efficient Investment Portfolios for the Swiss Electricity Supply Sector," FCN Working Papers 2/2008, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    17. Ruangpattana, Suriya & Preckel, Paul V. & Gotham, Douglas J. & Muthuraman, Kumar & Velástegui, Marco & Morin, Thomas L. & Uhan, Nelson A., 2012. "Diversification of fuel costs accounting for load variation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 400-408.
    18. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:3808-3823 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    energy; electricity; portfolio theory; efficiency frontier; seemingly unrelated regression estimations (SURE);

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • Q49 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Other

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