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Theses Doctoral

Essays in energy economics and industrial organization

Wang, Xueting

In chapter 1, I study long term contracts in retail electricity markets. Deregulation of retail electricity markets gives consumer choices over contracts of different lengths. Long term contracts allow consumers to hedge against future price increase, but they can be more expensive than spot contracts. There is little empirical evidence on how consumers value long term contracts. Using a dataset from an incumbent retailer containing 10-year panel of consumer contract choice data, this paper analyzes consumers' valuations of long term contracts. I first document that a significant percentage of consumers actively choose long term contracts when they are more expensive than shorter contracts. To quantify the value of long term contracts and welfare implication of product innovation after retail deregulation, I build and estimate a dynamic model that incorporates risk preference, price expectations and consumer inertia. Counterfactual calculation shows that on average consumers gain about 6% per month from long term contracts.

In chapter 2, I quantify the effect of introducing large-scale renewable energy on the wholesale electricity market. Renewable energy capacity has increased in many markets as renewable is crucial to reduce emission in the energy sector. More than 8GWh of wind capacity has been added in Texas between 2014 and 2017. Using hourly data from Texas, I find increasing daily wind energy production results in statistically significant reduction of wholesale electricity price for all hours of the day except 10pm, and the effect is larger during peak hours. Increasing wind production reduces output from both coal and natural gas power plants. Using hours when no transmission limit is binding and load is above 50th percentile in the load distribution, I find increasing hourly wind production reduces offer prices submitted by owners of fossil fuel power plants.

In chapter 3, I study the effect of transmission limit on market outcomes. Wholesale electricity markets are often subject to transmission constraints that prevent efficient dispatch of power. Increasing renewable capacity demands transmission infrastructure investment. In 2011 to 2013, Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) constructed several high voltage transmission lines from the wind-rich west Texas to demand centers. Using data on electricity production, demand, price and information on grid congestion, this paper shows that an increase of 100MW in the transmission limit from the West to the North reduces the hourly output of fossil fuel generators in the North by 71.1MWh and decreases the price in the North by 0.17$/MWh when the transmission constraint from the West to the North is binding. Meanwhile, the increase of the transmission limit reduces dispatch of coal and combined cycle gas power plants in the North, but increases production of simple cycle and steam gas power plants in the North.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sustainable Development
Thesis Advisors
Heal, Geoffrey M.
Mercadal, Ignacia
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 20, 2021