Impact of Electricity Pricing Policies on Renewable Energy Investments and Carbon Emissions

48 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2014 Last revised: 25 Apr 2016

See all articles by Gurhan Kok

Gurhan Kok

Koc University

Kevin Shang

Duke University

Şafak Yücel

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business

Date Written: August 27, 2015


We investigate the impact of pricing policies (i.e., flat pricing versus peak pricing) on the investment levels of a utility firm in two competing energy sources (renewable and conventional), with a focus on the renewable investment level. We consider generation patterns and intermittency of solar and wind energy in relation to the electricity demand throughout a day. Industry experts generally promote peak pricing policy as it smoothens the demand and reduces inefficiencies in the supply system. We find that the same pricing policy may lead to distinct outcomes for different renewable energy sources due to their generation patterns. Specifically, flat pricing leads to a higher investment level for solar energy and it can still lead to more investments in wind energy if considerable amount of wind energy is generated throughout the day. We validate these results by using electricity generation and demand data of Texas. We also show that flat pricing can lead to substantially lower carbon emissions and a higher consumer surplus. Finally, we explore the effect of direct (e.g., tax credit) and indirect (e.g., carbon tax) subsidies on the investment levels and carbon emissions. We show that both types of subsidies generally lead to a lower emission level but indirect subsidies may result in lower renewable energy investments. Our study suggests that reducing carbon emissions through increasing renewable energy investments requires a careful attention to the pricing policy and the market characteristics of each region.

Suggested Citation

Kok, Gurhan and Shang, Kevin and Yücel, Şafak, Impact of Electricity Pricing Policies on Renewable Energy Investments and Carbon Emissions (August 27, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Gurhan Kok

Koc University ( email )

Rumelifeneri Yolu
34450 Sar?yer
Istanbul, 34450

Kevin Shang

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Şafak Yücel (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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