The Impact of Long-Term Generation Contracts on Valuation of Electricity Generating Assets under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is an effort by nine states to constrain carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector using a cap-and-trade program. This paper assesses the importance of long-term electricity contracts under the program. We find that 12.2% of generation will be accounted for by long-term contracts in 2010, affecting select nuclear, hydroelectric, and cogeneration units. The contracts will have a negligible effect on the wholesale marginal cost of electricity and a small effect on retail price. States may want to consider contracts on a case-by-case basis when making decisions about the initial distribution of emission allowances, but they should account for effects on the portfolio of plants owned at the firm level, not the effects on individual facilities. Because of their relatively small effect, it seems unnecessary to allow the existence of long-term contracts to dictate the design of the overall program.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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JEL Codes:
Q54; Q58; L14; L94
Series Statement:
Discussion Paper 05-37

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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