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Stepwise Green Investment under Policy Uncertainty

Chronopoulos, M., Hagspiel, V. and Fleten, S-K. (2016). Stepwise Green Investment under Policy Uncertainty. Energy Journal, 37(4), pp. 87-108. doi: 10.5547/01956574.37.4.mchr


We analyse how market price and policy uncertainty, in the form of random provision or retraction of a subsidy, interact to affect the optimal time of investment and the size of a renewable energy (RE) project that can be completed in either a single (lumpy investment) or multiple stages (stepwise investment). The subsidy takes the form of a fixed premium on top of the electricity price, and, therefore, investment is subject to electricity price uncertainty. We show that the risk of a permanent retraction (provision) of a subsidy increases (decreases) the incentive to invest, yet lowers (raises) the amount of installed capacity, and that this result is more pronounced as the size of the subsidy increases. Additionally, we show that increasing the number of policy interventions lowers the expected value of a subsidy and the size of the project. Furthermore, we illustrate that, although an increase in the size of a subsidy lowers the relative value of the stepwise investment strategy, the expected value of a lumpy investment strategy is still lower than that of stepwise investment.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Investment analysis, Capacity sizing, Renewable energy, Policy uncertainty
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Cass Business School > Actuarial Science & Insurance
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