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[en] The need for investment in capital intensive electricity networks is on the rise in many countries. A major advantage of distributed resources is their potential for deferring investments in distribution network capacity. However, utilizing the full benefits of these resources requires addressing several technical, economic and regulatory challenges. A significant barrier pertains to the lack of an efficient market mechanism that enables this concept and also is consistent with business model of distribution companies under an unbundled power sector paradigm. This paper proposes a market-oriented approach termed as “contract for deferral scheme” (CDS). The scheme outlines how an economically efficient portfolio of distributed generation, storage, demand response and energy efficiency can be integrated as network resources to reduce the need for grid capacity and defer demand driven network investments. - Highlights: • The paper explores a practical framework for smart electricity distribution grids. • The aim is to defer large capital investments in the network by utilizing and incentivising distributed generation, demand response, energy efficiency and storage as network resources. • The paper discusses a possible new market model that enables integration of distributed resources as alternative to grid capacity enhancement
[en] Investment in electricity networks, as regulated natural monopolies, is among the highest regulatory and energy policy priorities. The electricity sector regulators adopt different incentive mechanisms to ensure that the firms undertake sufficient investment to maintain and modernise the grid. Thus, an effective regulatory treatment of investment requires understanding the response of companies to the regulatory incentives. This study analyses the determinants of investment in electricity distribution networks using a panel dataset of 129 Norwegian companies observed from 2004 to 2010. A Bayesian Model Averaging approach is used to provide a robust statistical inference by taking into account the uncertainties around model selection and estimation. The results show that three factors drive nearly all network investments: investment rate in previous period, socio-economic costs of energy not supplied and finally useful life of assets. The results indicate that Norwegian companies have, to some degree, responded to the investment incentives provided by the regulatory framework. However, some of the incentives do not appear to be effective in driving the investments. - Highlights: • This paper investigates determinants of investment under incentive regulation. • We apply a Bayesian model averaging technique to deal with model uncertainty. • Dataset comprises 129 Norwegian electricity network companies from 2004 to 2010. • The results show that firms have generally responded to investment incentives. • However, some of the incentives do not appear to have been effective.
[en] Due to a shortage of data and increased international mergers, national energy regulators are looking to international benchmarking analyses for help in setting price controls within incentive regulation. We present an international benchmarking study of 63 regional electricity distribution utilities in six European countries that aims to illustrate the methodological and data issues encountered in the use of international benchmarking for utility regulation. The study examines the effect of the choice of benchmarking methods using DEA, COLS and SFA models. We discuss what problems of international benchmarking are highlighted by the study and how they can be overcome
[en] Developing countries have had to reform technically and financially less efficient electricity sectors than developed countries with less resources and weaker institutions. This paper examines the reform experience and lessons in these countries. The paper reviews private participation and key reform steps such as restructuring, competition, and regulation. The role of contextual factors such as system size, institutional endowment, and international organizations are then discussed. It then argues that there is a need for redefining the role of the state rather than a full withdrawal from the sector and that many countries should adopt simpler reform models and gradual implementation. (author)
[en] The UK electricity sector liberalisation was a pioneer in the worldwide reform trend and its reform model and outcomes have been the subject of many studies. However, lesser known are the effects of privatisation, market based reforms, and incentive regulation of networks on research and development as well as patenting activities in the sector. This paper updates our previous studies of this subject and discusses the recent developments in the innovative activities in the UK electricity sector. We find that, in recent years, the initial absence of support policies and the subsequent decline in innovation efforts in the aftermath of the reform has resulted in efforts towards forming an energy technology and innovation policy. Although we already observe some positive outcomes from these efforts, we discuss whether the balance of the innovation efforts are calibrated appropriately and whether the institutional framework can be further improved to promote long term progress. -- Highlights: •We discuss the impact of electricity market reforms on innovation in the UK. •We show that both R+D expenditure and innovation output have recovered sharply. •We discuss some of the new institutional arrangements which have support this. •We conclude that new ways of supporting R+D are needed
[en] Electricity sector reforms across the world have led to a search for innovative approaches to regulation that promote efficiency in the natural monopoly distribution networks and reduce their service charges. To this aim, a number of countries have adopted incentive regulation models based on efficiency benchmarking. While most regulators have used parametric and non-parametric frontier-based methods of benchmarking some have adopted engineering-designed 'reference firm' or 'norm' models. This paper examines the incentive properties and related aspects of the reference firm model-NPAM-as used in Sweden and compares this with frontier-based benchmarking methods. We identify a number of important differences between the two approaches that are not readily apparent and discuss their ramifications for the regulatory objectives and process. We conclude that, on balance, the reference models are less appropriate as benchmarks than real firms. Also, the implementation framework based on annual ex-post reviews exacerbates the regulatory problems mainly by increasing uncertainty and reducing the incentive for innovation
[en] This paper reviews the recent experience of the UK electricity distribution sector under incentive regulation. The UK has a significant and transparent history in implementing incentive regulation in the period since 1990. We demonstrate the successes of this period in reducing costs, prices, and energy losses while maintaining quality of service. We also draw out the lessons for other countries in implementing distribution sector reform. We conclude by discussing the place of incentive regulation of networks within the wider reform context, the required legislative framework, the need for appropriate unbundling, the importance of quality of service incentives, the regulatory information requirements, and the role of sector rationalisation. (author)
[en] On both sides of the Atlantic, the regulation of gas transmission networks has undergone major changes since the early 1990s. Whereas in the US, the long-standing regime of cost-plus regulation was complemented by increasing pipe-to-pipe competition, most European countries moved towards incentive regulation complemented by market integration. We study the productivity development of a panel of US interstate companies using data envelopment analysis and Malmquist productivity indices. Results are presented for changes in productivity, as well as for several convergence tests. The results indicate that taking productivity and convergence as performance indicators, regulation has been rather successful, in particular during a period where overall demand was flat. However, we argue that a benchmarking-based regulation might have brought about stronger convergence. Lessons for European regulators are twofold. First, the US analysis shows that benchmarking of European transmission operators would be possible if data were available. Second, our results suggest that, in the long-run, market integration and competition are alternatives to the current European model. (author)
[en] Interconnections can be an effective way to increase competition and improve market integration in concentrated wholesale electricity markets with limited number of participants. This paper examines the potential for interconnections and increasing market integration in the Irish Single Electricity Market (SEM). We use a time-varying Kalman filter technique to assess the degree of market integration between SEM and other large, mature and interconnected wholesale electricity markets in Europe including Great Britain (GB). The results indicate no market integration between SEM and other European markets except for Elspot and GB. We show that the current state of market integration between SEM and GB is just 17% indicating potential to improve market integration via increased interconnector capacity. The results indicate that liquidity of wholesale markets might be a crucial factor in the market integration process while our results remain inconclusive in determining whether increased trade of renewables can improve market integration. - Highlights: ► We assess the degree of market integration between SEM and other EU electricity markets. ► Our results indicate no market integration between SEM and other European markets except for Elspot and GB. ► We show that the current state of market integration between SEM and GB is just 17%.
[en] This paper assesses the issues and options in reforming small electricity sector systems in general while citing Nepal as a specific case. Political instability and increasing electricity demand are two major complicating factors in power sector reform of small systems such as that of Nepal. Lessons from international experience suggest that measures such as cost-reflecting pricing, restructuring and independent regulation are important for the success of reforms. In small systems, the creation of an independent regulatory authority is more important than unbundling of the sector. In the present context of Nepal accounting separation of the main activities may be a pragmatic restructuring approach given the present political and market condition. As the systems gradually grow larger, vertical separation of the system and horizontal splitting of the generation segment and competition in organised wholesale market followed by privatisation remains an option in the long run. - Highlights: ► This paper assesses the issues and options in reforming small electricity sector. ► Paper cites Nepal as an example with a small electricity system. ► Political instability and increasing demand are two major complicating factors in reform. ► Conditions and institutional arrangements vary across small systems. ► Accounting separation is a desirable step given for the present political and market conditions in Nepal.