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Cap-and-Trade Modeling and Analysis: Congested Electricity Market Equilibrium

  • Author(s): Limpaitoon, Tanachai
  • Advisor(s): Oren, Shmuel S
  • et al.

This dissertation presents an equilibrium framework for analyzing the impact of cap-and-trade regulation on transmission-constrained electricity market. The cap-and-trade regulation of greenhouse gas emissions has gained momentum in the past decade. The impact of the regulation and its efficacy in the electric power industry depend on interactions of demand elasticity, transmission network, market structure, and strategic behavior of firms. I develop an equilibrium model of an oligopoly electricity market in conjunction with a market for tradable emissions permits to study the implications of such interactions. My goal is to identify inefficiencies that may arise from policy design elements and to avoid any unintended adverse consequences on the electric power sector.

I demonstrate this modeling framework with three case studies examining the impact of carbon cap-and-trade regulation. In the first case study, I study equilibrium results under various scenarios of resource ownership and emission targets using a 24-bus IEEE electric transmission system. The second and third case studies apply the equilibrium model to a realistic electricity market, Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) 225-bus system with a detailed representation of the California market.

In the first and second case studies, I examine oligopoly in electricity with perfect competition in the permit market. I find that under a stringent emission cap and a high degree of concentration of non-polluting firms, the electricity market is subject to potential abuses of market power. Also, market power can occur in the procurement of non-polluting energy through the permit market when non-polluting resources are geographically concentrated in a transmission-constrained market.

In the third case study, I relax the competitive market structure assumption of the permit market by allowing oligopolistic competition in the market through a conjectural variation approach. A short-term equilibrium analysis of the joint markets in the presence of market power reveals that strategic permit trading can play a vital role in determining economic outcomes in the electricity market. In particular, I find that a firm with more efficient technologies can employ strategic withholding of permits, which allows for its increase in output share in the electricity market at the expense of other less efficient firms. In addition, strategic permit trading can influence patterns of transmission congestion.

These results illustrate that market structure and transmission congestion can have a significant impact on the market performance and environmental outcome of the regulation while the interactions of such factors can lead to unintended consequences. The proposed approach is proven useful as a tool for market monitoring purposes in the short run from the perspective of a system operator, whose responsibility has become indirectly intertwined with emission trading regulation.

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