Efficiency in Wholesale Electricity Markets: On the Role of Externalities and Subsidies
38 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2020
Date Written: 2020
This paper studies the effects of capacity market reforms that the U.S. grid operators have undertaken in response to state-level subsidies paid to emission-free electricity generation. We first derive an analytical model of energy-and-capacity markets that allows us to predict the price and resource mix effects of subsidies, as well as to understand their welfare implications. We confirm that while the subsidies, even when combined with energy consumption taxes, generally cannot achieve first-best outcomes. We also show there exists a range of subsidy rates that are welfare-enhancing when greenhouse gas externalities are taken into account. Finally, we focus on the evaluation of capacity market reforms similar to those in PJM, ISO-NE, and NYISO, finding that such reforms are likely to decrease welfare.
JEL Classification: Q280, Q420, Q580, Q410
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