Toward a combined merchant-regulatory mechanism for electricity transmission expansion
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Electricity transmission pricing and transmission grid expansion have received increasing attention in recent years. There are two disparate approaches to transmission investment: one employs the theory based on long-run financial rights (LTFTR) to transmission (merchant approach), while the other is based on the incentive-regulation hypothesis (regulatory approach). In this paper we consider the elements that could combine the merchant and regulatory approaches in a setting with price-taking electricity generators and loads. The monopoly transmission firm (Transco) is regulated through benchmark or price regulation to provide long-term investment incentives. The two-part tariff approach used can be analyzed analytically only for well-behaved cost and demand functions. We explore a series of simplified transmission grids to argue that in a variety of circumstances those functions could have reasonable economic properties. The results suggest directions for further research to explore the properties of the cost functions and implications for design of practical incentive mechanisms and the integration with merchant investment in organized markets with LTFTRs.
KeywordsElectricity transmission Financial transmission rights Incentive regulation Loop-flow problem
JEL ClassificationD24 L51 L94
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