DP2998 Capacity Choices in Liberalized Electricity Markets

Author(s): Fidel Castro-Rodriguez, Pedro Luis Marín Uribe, Georges Siotis
Publication Date: October 2001
Keyword(s): capacity, electricity, liberalization, long-run investment, regulation
JEL(s): L13, L43, L94
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2998

We develop a theoretical model of long-run investment decisions on capacity in the context of a liberalized electricity market. The sector's idiosyncrasies such as the uncertainty surrounding future supply and demand, as well as technological constraints, are explicitly modelled. The model is sufficiently flexible to describe the situation in different systems. We derive the level of capacity that maximizes social welfare, and compare it to a decentralized outcome. We show that in the absence of any regulation, private investment decisions on capacity unambiguously lead to a socially sub-optimal outcome, and we illustrate these results using simulations.