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The Energy Journal
Volume 33, Number 2

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What Drives States to Support Renewable Energy?

Steffen Jenner, Gabriel Chan, Rolf Frankenberger, and Mathias Gabel

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.1
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Why do states support electricity generation from renewable energy sources? Lyon/ Yin (2010), Chandler (2009), and Huang et al. (2007) have answered this question for the adoption of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) at the U.S. state level. This article supplements their work by testing the core hypotheses on the EU27 sample between 1990 and 2010. Furthermore, the article asks why the majority of EU states relies on feed-in-tariffs (FIT). The study conducts logistic time series cross-section regression analyses that run on a hazard model. Evidence in support of private interest theory and public interest theory is provided. (a) The existence of a solar energy association increases the probability of a state to adopt regulation. (b) Solar radiation, and (c) the unemployment rate also increase the odds. (d) Electricity market concentration decreases the probability of transition. Keywords: Energy policy, Renewable energy, Electricity, Feed-in-tariff, Hazard model, Public Choice

The Weak Tie Between Natural Gas and Oil Prices

David J. Ramberg and John E. Parsons

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.2
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Several recent studies establish that crude oil and natural gas prices are cointegrated. Yet at times in the past, and very powerfully in the last two years, many voices have noted that the two price series appear to have “decoupled”. We explore the apparent contradiction between these two views. We find that recognition of the statistical fact of cointegration needs to be tempered with two additional points. First, there is an enormous amount of unexplained volatility in natural gas prices at short horizons. Hence, any simple formulaic relationship between the prices will leave a large portion of the natural gas price unexplained. Second, the cointegrating relationship does not appear to be stable through time. The prices may be tied, but the relationship can shift dramatically over time. Therefore, although the two price series may be cointegrated, the confidence intervals for both short and long time horizons are large. Keywords: Oil price, Natural gas price, Cointegration

Split Incentives in Residential Energy Consumption

Kenneth Gillingham, Matthew Harding, and David Rapson

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.3
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We explore two split incentive issues between owners and occupants of residential dwellings: heating or cooling incentives are suboptimal when the occupant does not pay for energy use, and insulation incentives are suboptimal when the occupant cannot perfectly observe the owner's insulation choice. We empirically quantify the effect of these two market failures and how they affect behavior in California. We find that those who pay are 16 percent more likely to change the heating setting at night and owner-occupied dwellings are 20 percent more likely to be insulated in the attic or ceiling. However, in contrast to common conception, we find that only small overall energy savings may be possible from policy interventions aimed at correcting the split incentive issues. Keywords: Principal-agent, Asymmetric information, CO2 emissions

Cost-Effectiveness of Electricity Energy Efficiency Programs

Toshi H. Arimura, Shanjun Li, Richard G. Newell, and Karen Palmer

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.4
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We analyze the cost-effectiveness of electric utility ratepayer–funded programs to promote demand-side management (DSM) and energy efficiency (EE) investments. We specify a model that relates electricity demand to previous EE DSM spending, energy prices, income, weather, and other demand factors. In contrast to previous studies, we allow EE DSM spending to have a potential long-term demand effect and explicitly address possible endogeneity in spending. We find that current period EE DSM expenditures reduce electricity demand and that this effect persists for a number of years. Our findings suggest that ratepayer funded DSM expenditures between 1992 and 2006 produced a central estimate of 0.9 percent savings in electricity consumption over that time period and a 1.8 percent savings over all years. These energy savings came at an expected average cost to utilities of roughly 5 cents per kWh saved when future savings are discounted at a 5 percent rate. Keywords: Energy efficiency, Demand-side management, Electricity demand

Green Certificates and Market Power on the Nordic Power Market

Eirik S. Amundsen and Lars Bergman

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.5
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The purpose of this study is to elucidate under which circumstances, how, and to what extent market power on a Tradable Green Certificates (TGC) market can be used to affect an entire electricity market. There are basically two reasons for being concerned with this. One is that a small number of companies may have exclusive access to first rate sites for wind power generation. The other is that withdrawal of a small number of TGCs implies a multiple reduction of electricity consumption, with corresponding increases of end user prices. We formulate both an analytical model to investigate economic principles and a numerical model based on that to investigate the Swedish TGC market operating in a setting of a common Nordic electricity market. The analysis shows that Swedish producers may exercise market power using the TGC-market but that this problem will be eliminated by opening the TGC-market for other Nordic countries. Keywords: Renewable energy, Electricity, Green certificates, Market power, Nordic power market

Oil Abundance and Economic Growth--A Panel Data Analysis

Nuno Torres, Oscar Afonso, and Isabel Soares

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.6
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Using panel estimation, this paper shows that higher oil abundance does not hinder crude producers' growth. This sample controls for specificities of oil economies, but the usual cross-section `curse' result is found—it disappears allowing for unobserved effects. The chosen model controls for a potential (but unconfirmed) oil curse working through institutions, and for other growth factors such as education, which is considered by deriving real wage growth as the dependent variable. We measure the oil growth-effects through labor and capital efficiency, and as a factor of production. They are all insignificant for oil production, but rig productivity benefits growth through capital efficiency. However, oil concentration only fosters growth (by reducing the capital necessary to oil exploration) significantly if there is fiscal responsibility, and in developing countries, where institutions are weaker and there is a broader scope for factor-efficiency and technological improvements arising from the oil sector. Keywords: Economic growth, Institutions, Oil curse, Panel data

Spatial Risk Premium on Weather Derivatives and Hedging Weather Exposure in Electricity

Wolfgang Karl Hardle and Maria Osipenko

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.7
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Due to the dependency of the energy demand on temperature, weather derivatives enable the effective hedging of temperature related fluctuations. However, temperature varies in space and time and therefore the contingent weather derivatives also vary. The spatial derivative price distribution involves a risk premium. We employ a pricing model for temperature derivatives based on dynamics modeled via a vectorial Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process with seasonal variation. We use an analytical expression for the risk premia depending on variation curves of temperature in the measurement period. The dependence is exploited by a functional principal component analysis of the curves. We compute risk premia on cumulative average temperature futures for locations traded on CME and fit to it a geographically weighted regression on functional principal component scores. It allows us to predict risk premia for nontraded locations and to adopt, on this basis, a hedging strategy, which we illustrate in the example of Leipzig. Keywords: Risk premium, Weather derivatives, Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process, Functional principal components, Geographically weighted regression

Inside the Black Box: the Price Linkage and Transmission between Energy and Agricultural Markets

Xiaodong Du and Lihong Lu McPhail

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.8
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Motivated by strong comovement and increasing volatility of energy and agricultural prices, we examine dynamic evolutions of ethanol, gasoline, and corn prices over the period of March 2005-March 2011. A structural change is found around March 2008 in the pairwise dynamic correlations between the prices in a multivariate GARCH model. A structural VAR (SVAR) model is then estimated on two subsamples, one before and one after the identified change point. Using the novel method of identification through heteroscedasticity, we exploit the time-varying price volatilities to fully identify the SVAR model. In the more recent period, ethanol, gasoline, and corn prices are found to be more closely linked with a strengthened corn-ethanol relation, which can be largely explained by the new developments of the biofuel industry and related policy instruments. Variance decomposition shows that for each market a significant and relatively large share of the price variation could be explained by the price changes in the other two markets. The results are robust to the inclusion of seasonal dummies and various representative macroeconomic and financial indicators. Keywords: Biofuel, Identification through heteroscedasticity, Structural change, Structural VAR

Emissions Trading in Forward and Spot Markets for Electricity

Makoto Tanaka and Yihsu Chen

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.33.2.9
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Tradable allowances have received considerable attention in recent years. One emerging issue is their interaction with electricity markets. This paper extends the model of Allaz and Vila (1993) by incorporating emissions trading with forward and spot markets for electricity. We focus on the effects of strategic forward position and initial allowances allocation on the equilibrium outcomes. We find that firms with a dirty portfolio would have stronger incentives to take a long position in the forward market to raise the electricity price. Increasing the amount of allowances assigned to clean firms leads to a reduction in electricity and allowance prices. Keywords: Cap-and-Trade, Market Power, Forward Contract


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