Essays on electricity and matching markets
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics.
Nikhil Agarwal, Nancy Rose and Paul Joskow.
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This thesis contains two chapters on the Electricity Markets and a chapter on Matching Markets. In the first chapter, I study how an energy storage affects the wholesale electricity market. The transition to a low-carbon electricity system is likely to require grid-scale energy storage to smooth the variability and intermittency of renewable energy. I investigate whether private incentives for operating and investing in grid-scale energy storage are optimal and the need for policies that complement investments in renewables with encouraging energy storage. In a wholesale electricity market, energy storage systems generate profit by arbitraging inter-temporal electricity price differences. In addition, storage induces non-pecuniary externalities due to production efficiency and carbon emissions. I build a new dynamic equilibrium framework to quantify the effects of grid-scale energy storage and apply it to study the South Australian Electricity Market.This equilibrium framework computes a supply function equilibrium using estimated best responses from conventional sources to observed variation in the residual demand volatility. Accounting for storage's effect on equilibrium prices is quantitatively important: previous methods that ignore this channel overestimate the profitability of operating a storage unit. The first set of results shows that although entering the electricity market is not profitable for privately operated storage, such entry would increase consumer surplus and total welfare and reduce emissions. A storage operator that minimizes the cost of acquiring electricity could further improve consumer surplus by twice as much. Importantly, a competitive storage market cannot achieve this outcome because other power plants distort prices. These results argue for a capacity market to compensate for a private firm for investing in storage.The second set of results shows that at moderate levels of renewable power, introducing grid-scale storage to the system reduces renewable generators' revenue by decreasing average prices. For high levels of renewable generation capacity, storage increases the return to renewable production and decreases CO₂ emissions by preventing curtailment during low-demand periods. In the second chapter, I study how a large scale wind power investment affects the wholesale electricity market. Renewable subsidies have been an influential device for wind power investment in many parts of the world. These policies help to lower emissions by offsetting high-emitting electricity generation with clean energy. For zero-emission targets, this transition towards renewable power should be accompanied by thermal generators' retirement to set clean the energy mix in the power sector.In this paper, I build a framework to quantify the offset and revenue impact of large-scale wind power investment in a wholesale electricity market and apply it to study the South Australian Electricity Market. This equilibrium framework computes a supply function equilibrium using estimated best responses from conventional sources to observed variation in the residual demand volatility. I first show that reduced-form methods are biased as the scale of the additional capacity increases. My results highlight that with different investment sizes, the substitution patterns and negative revenue impact for wind power differ considerably. As the penetration level of wind power increases, the electricity becomes cheaper. The offset and negative shock shifts from low-cost inflexible generators to high-cost flexible generators, while the revenue impact is the highest on existing renewable generation.I also show quite a bit heterogeneity in price impact among different potential wind power projects. These results have some policy implications on renewable targets' long-run effects and the project selection given the subsidy scheme. In the third chapter, joint with Nikhil Agarwal, Itai Ashlagi, Eduardo Azevedo and Clayton Featherstone, I study the market failure in kidney exchange. We show that kidney exchange markets suffer from market failures whose remedy could increase transplants by 30 to 63 percent. First, we document that the market is fragmented and inefficient; most transplants are arranged by hospitals instead of national platforms. Second, we propose a model to show two sources of inefficiency: hospitals only partly internalize their patientsâǍŹ benefits from exchange, and current platforms suboptimally reward hospitals for submitting patients and donors. Third, we calibrate a production function and show that individual hospitals operate below efficient scale.Eliminating this inefficiency requires either a mandate or a combination of new mechanisms and reimbursement reforms.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Economics, September, 2020Cataloged from student-submitted PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-228).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology