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[en] Well-designed auctions work favorably for allocating idiosyncratic properties efficiently. Auctions are used to allocate entry capacity for United Kingdom gas and inter-connector capacity for electricity in several European Union countries and can work well for allocating existing capacity, though careful auction design is needed to mitigate potential market power. Using auction prices to guide investment decisions in networks is problematic if bidders fear that sub-optimal investment will be compensated by regulatory fiat, lowering future capacity values. (Author)
[en] Despite recent revived interest, the prospects for new nuclear power investment in liberalized electricity industries without government support do not seem promising. The objective of this paper is twofold. First it aims to identify the specific features of nuclear power technology that makes it an unattractive choice. The second objective is to estimate the value to a utility of a nuclear investment as a hedge against uncertain gas and carbon prices. A stylized 5-plant Real Option utility model shows that while the nuclear option value represents about 18% of the net present value (NPV) of the nuclear plant investment in the case where electricity and gas prices are uncorrelated, it reduces to nearly zero for correlation factors between electricity and gas price greater than 30%. These results suggest that the private diversification incentives in electricity markets might not be aligned with the social value of a diverse fuel-mix at the country level. (Author)
[en] The European Union faces challenges in reforming the Gas and Electricity Directives to implement the single market in electricity and gas. The paper argues that there is unfinished business in the areas of regulation, restructuring, encouraging proper risk management through contracting, and designing markets and regulation to ensure effective and sustainable competition in the services supplied over the networks. Regulators often lack critical information and appropriate power to act. Restructuring is problematic, requiring forceful competition authorities with a clear agenda to achieve desirable structural reforms. A key issue is striking the right balance between complete liberalisation and ensuring adequate capacity and investment. Finally, proactive competition policies will be necessary to resist the powerful forces for vertical and horizontal integration visible in the Union. (Author)
[en] Highlights: • Modeling wholesale electricity markets require specifying oligopoly behaviour. • Cournot models are inappropriate for variable demand in contrast to markup models. • Proportional markups lead to higher prices than a fixed markups, but to lower prices than Cournot. • Any markup equilibrium is robust against a single firm playing a Nash-Cournot strategy. • Markup equilibria are not robust against a sophisticated player who commits to a Stackelberg strategy. - Abstract: Modeling market power in electricity markets is fraught as agents compete in prices but interact daily. In deciding what supply to offer, generators need to form judgements on the supplies chosen by rivals and hence the residual demand they face. Many markets are found to have prices above competitive levels, which could be explained by Nash-Cournot behaviour or marking-up above variable costs, but these strategies may not be robust against sophisticated deviants. This paper demonstrates that (1) the Nash choice of the optimal proportional mark-up on marginal costs yields lower prices and profits than Cournot behaviour but higher prices and profits than the optimum fixed mark-up; (2) such mark-up models are robust to single firm Nash deviations, but not against more sophisticated deviations in the deterministic case, nor under demand uncertainty. Proportional mark-up models emerge as the most robust and hence preferred modeling approach.
[en] Monte Carlo simulations of gas, coal and nuclear plant investment returns are used as inputs of a Mean-Variance Portfolio optimization to identify optimal base load generation portfolios for large electricity generators in liberalized electricity markets. We study the impact of fuel, electricity, and CO2 price risks and their degree of correlation on optimal plant portfolios. High degrees of correlation between gas and electricity prices - as observed in most European markets - reduce gas plant risks and make portfolios dominated by gas plant more attractive. Long-term power purchase contracts and/or a lower cost of capital can rebalance optimal portfolios towards more diversified portfolios with larger shares of nuclear and coal plants