Renewable power and electricity prices: the impact of forward markets

Puera, H and Bunn, D W (2021) Renewable power and electricity prices: the impact of forward markets. Management Science, 67 (8). pp. 4772-4788. ISSN 0025-1909 OPEN ACCESS


Increasing variable renewable power generation (e.g., wind) is expected to reduce wholesale electricity prices by virtue of its low marginal production cost. This merit-order effect of renewables displacing incumbent conventional (e.g., gas) generation forms the theoretical underpinning for investment decisions and policy in the power industry. This paper uses a game-theoretic market model to investigate how intermittently available wind generation affects electricity prices in the presence of forward markets, which are widely used by power companies to hedge against revenue variability ahead of near-real-time spot trading. We find that in addition to the established merit-order effect, renewable generation affects power prices through forward-market hedging. This forward effect reinforces the merit-order effect in reducing prices for moderate amounts of wind generation capacity but mitigates or even reverses it for higher capacities. For moderate wind capacity, uncertainty over its output increases hedging, and these higher forward sales lead to lower prices. For higher capacities, however, wind variability conversely causes power producers to behave less aggressively in forward trading for fear of unfavorable spot-market positions. The lower sales counteract the merit-order effect, and prices may then paradoxically increase with wind capacity despite its lower production cost. We confirm the potential for such reversals in a numerical study, suggesting new empirical questions while providing potential explanations for previously contradictory observed effects of market fundamentals. We conclude that considering the conventional merit-order effect alone is insufficient for evaluating the price impacts of variable renewable generation in the presence of forward markets.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Management Science and Operations
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© 2020 INFORMS

Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 09:02
Date of first compliant deposit: 26 Jun 2020
Subjects: Financial markets
Energy resources
Electricity supply industry
Renewable energy industry
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 00:43

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