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Renewable Energy Support, Negative Prices, and Real-time Pricing

Michael Pahle, Wolf-Peter Schill, Christian Gambardella, and Oliver Tietjen

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Sustainable Infrastructure Development and Cross-Border Coordination
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI3.mpah
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Abstract:
We analyze the welfare effects of two different renewable support schemes designed to achieve a given target for the share of fluctuating renewable electricity generation: a feed-in premium (FiP), which can induce negative wholesale prices, and a capacity premium (CP), which does not. For doing so we use a stylized economic model that differentiates between real-time and flat-rate pricing and is loosely calibrated on German market data. Counter-intuitively, we find that distortions through induced negative prices do not reduce the net consumer surplus of the FiP relative to the CP. Rather, the FiP performs better under all assumptions considered. The reason is that increased use of renewables under the FiP, particularly in periods of negative prices, leads to a reduction of required renewable capacity and respective costs. This effect dominates larger deadweight losses of consumer surplus generated by the FiP compared to the CP. Furthermore, surplus gains experienced by consumers who switch from flat-rate to real-time pricing are markedly higher under the FiP, which might be interpreted as greater incentives to enable such switching. While our findings are primarily of theoretical nature and the full range of implications of negative prices needs to be carefully considered, we hope that our analysis makes policy-makers more considerate of their potential benefits.



The Negative Pricing of the May 2020 WTI Contract

Adrian Fernandez-Perez, Ana-Maria Fuertes, and Joelle Miffre

Year: 2023
Volume: Volume 44
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.44.1.afer
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Abstract:
This paper sheds light on the negative pricing of the May 2020 WTI futures contract (CLK20) on April 20, 2020. The super contango of early 2020, triggered by COVID-19 lockdowns and geopolitical tensions, incentivized cash and carry (C&C) traders to be long CLK20 and short distant contracts, while simultaneously booking storage at Cushing. Our investigation reveals that C&C arbitrage largely contributed to the lack of storage capacity at Cushing in April 2020 and the price crash relates to the reversing trades of many long CLK20 traders without pre-booked storage. Additional aggravating factors included a liquidity crush, staggering margin calls and potential price distortions due to the trade-at-settlement mechanism. The analysis suggests that claims from experts that hold index trackers responsible for the crash are unwarranted: Index trackers did not trigger the negative pricing, nor widen the futures-spot spread by rolling their positions to more distant contracts ahead of maturity.





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