Support schemes and vertical integration - who skims the cream?

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2009

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This paper examines how the effectiveness of feed-in tariffs for distributed generators, producing renewable electricity, depends on industry structure, i.e., vertical integration vs. unbundling. A stylized analytical model with a monopolist and a competitive fringe (distributed generators) will be developed to analyze the impact of feed-in tariffs on renewable power production. The vertically integrated monopolist maximizes profits by setting the electricity price for residual demand and a network access charge incurred by the fringe. The fringe receives a fixed feed-in tariff per unit of electricity produced. Under vertical integration, a rise in the feed-in tariff induces the monopolist to raise access charges for fringe firms and skim part of their additional income. This partially offsets the supply increase of the fringe firms stimulated by the feed-in tariff. However, in the case of effective unbundling with an externally set access charge, there is no possibility for the monopolist to extract part of the fringe's profit. Then, the feed-in tariff fully accrues to the competitive fringe, and its supply will further increase. This setting will be extended to horizontal expansion when the monopolist also enters the renewable production segment. The effects on prices and output will be derived and compared.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1104-1115
StatePublished - 2009
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 3


  • Climate and energy systems, Energy systems analysis
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ID: 4051727