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Implications of diverging social and private discount rates for investments in the German power industry: a new case for nuclear energy?

  • Heinzel, Christoph

For power-plant investments, utilities rely after liberalisation on private financial markets, which are in general distorted. The (related) split of social and private time-preference rates provides a new reason for a welfare-enhancing policy intervention, complementary to environmental policy (Heinzel and Winkler 2007). This paper quantifies it and studies its relevance for the German power industry around 2015. The distortions remain moderate as compared to other investment subsidies. However, in contrast to environmental policy alone, its additional implementation makes nuclear power the first option even in the nuclear high-cost scenario. Both policies enhance ecological structural change, which end-of-pipe abatement delays.

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Paper provided by Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics in its series Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 03/08.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:0308
Contact details of provider: Postal: 01062 Dresden
Phone: ++49 351 463 2196
Fax: ++49 351 463 7739
Web page: http://www.tu-dresden.de/wiwi/
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  1. Reyer Gerlagh & Bob van der Zwaan, 2006. "Options and Instruments for a Deep Cut in CO2 Emissions: Carbon Dioxide Capture or Renewables, Taxes or Subsidies?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 25-48.
  2. Szymon Borak & Wolfgang Härdle & Stefan Trück & Rafal Weron, 2006. "Convenience Yields for CO2 Emission Allowance Futures Contracts," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-076, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  3. Kenshi Itaoka & Aya Saito & Alan Krupnick & Wiktor Adamowicz & Taketoshi Taniguchi, 2006. "The Effect of Risk Characteristics on the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions from Electric Power Generation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(3), pages 371-398, 03.
  4. Anthony D. Owen, 2004. "Environmental Externalities, Market Distortions and the Economics of Renewable Energy Technologies," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 127-158.
  5. Yves Schneider & Peter Zweifel, 2004. "How Much Internalization of Nuclear Risk Through Liability Insurance?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 219-240, December.
  6. David J. Evans & Haluk Sezer, 2005. "Social discount rates for member countries of the European Union," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(1), pages 47-59, January.
  7. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Discounting an uncertain future," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 149-166, August.
  8. Roques, F.A. & Nuttall, W.J. & Newbery, D.M. & de Neufville, R., 2005. "Nuclear Power: a Hedge against Uncertain Gas and Carbon Prices?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0555, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  9. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2003. "Public Investment and the Risk Premium for Equity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 1-18, February.
  10. Gollier, Christian, 2004. "Choice of Nuclear Power Investments under Price Uncertainty: Valuing Modularity," IDEI Working Papers 287, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. Stéphane Gallon & Anne Epaulard, 2001. "La valorisation du projet nucléaire EPR par la méthode des options réelles," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 149(3), pages 29-50.
  12. 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.
  13. Kunreuther, Howard & Novemsky, Nathan & Kahneman, Daniel, 2001. " Making Low Probabilities Useful," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 103-20, September.
  14. Christoph Heinzel & Ralph Winkler, 2007. "The role of environmental and technology policies in the transition to a low-carbon energy industry," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 07/71, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
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