Generation Investment and Resource Adequacy in Electricity Markets

57 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2015

Date Written: November 13, 2015


This paper presents an overview of the issue of resource adequacy in general, and the specific problems presented by restructured markets for ensuring adequate investment in generation capacity. The theory of investment in ideal markets is contrasted with the actual behavior of investors in US markets in the past, and the potential for investment cycles in the future. The US experience with capacity markets, energy only markets and mandated reserve margins is summarized and contrasted. Theoretical models of markets, and consultant models that are based on the assumptions of economic theory, cannot be relied upon to provide reliable recommendations for effective policy decisions. The lack of high quality and impartial empirical work that would allow valid comparisons of the efficiency and effectiveness of different markets leaves regulators in the dark when choosing between resource adequacy mechanisms.

Keywords: Electricity, Generation, Resource Adequacy, Markets, Regulation

JEL Classification: G31, G38, L50, L51, L94, L98, Q40, Q48

Suggested Citation

Isser, Steve N., Generation Investment and Resource Adequacy in Electricity Markets (November 13, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Steve N. Isser (Contact Author)

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267-966-5066 (Phone)

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