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Renewable Electricity Conference

May 28, 2015

On May 28 2015 The Van Horne Institute held a conference on Economics of Electricity Generation and the Environment. The intent of the conference was to bring together economists working on competition policy and regulatory issues in electricity markets with policy makers, market monitoring staff, and industry representatives from Alberta along with other jurisdictions.

Renewable electricity generation capacity has increased substantially worldwide as installation costs fall and as regulatory policies that favor renewable resources are implemented. Concerns over environmental emissions from fossil fuel generation technologies continue to grow effectively assisting the growth of the renewable electricity generation option. However, renewable electricity generation remains costly compared to the alternative of generating electricity from non-renewable resources.  Renewable electricity generation also relies on out-of-market subsidies, and is subject to substantial intermittency.  These factors have the potential to adversely affect the economic and social value of renewable energy. Therefore, when implementing renewable resource policies, it is important to account for the associated costs and benefits of renewable resource integration in electricity markets.

This conference brought together leading economists in the area of renewable electricity generation, with government officials, energy market regulators, and energy industry stakeholders to discuss and assess the costs and benefits of renewable technologies. Such a discussion is critical to promote the appropriate regulatory policies for renewable integration in electricity markets worldwide.


8:30-8:45            Registration

8:45 – 9:00          Welcome Remarks (Douglas West and Bryndis Whitson)

9:00 – 9:30         Opening Keynote Scott Thon, President and CEO, AltaLink

9:30 – 10:30        Session 1: Assessing the Economics of Renewable Generation

Donald Dewees (University of Toronto)

Discussant: Nicole Leblanc  (Director, Analytics and Forecasting, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO))

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee

10:45 – 12:15 Session 2: Renewable Electricity

A one-two punch: Joint effects of natural gas abundance and renewables on coal-fired power plants

Harrison Fell (Colorado School of Mines)

Discussant: Matt Ayres  (Deputy Administrator & Chief Economist, Market Surveillance Administrator)

Benefits of Electricity Trade between Alberta and British Columbia: Obstacles and Challenges to Integrating Wind Energy\

Cornelius van Kooten (University of Victoria) Discussant: Tim Weis (CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association))

12:15 – 1:30                 Lunch Keynote Bob Heggie, Chief Executive, Alberta        Utilities Commission

1:30 – 3:15 Session 3: Electricity and the Environment (Sponsored by ATCO Power)

Inferring Carbon Abatement Costs in Electricity Markets: A Revealed Preference    Approach using the Shale Revolution

Erin Mansur (Dartmouth University)

Discussant: Carl Fuchshuber  (VP Commercial and Strategic Planning, ATCO Power)

Location, Location? Evaluating the Marginal Value of Climate Change Mitigation  Strategies across Space and Time

Meredith Fowlie (University of California, Berkeley)

Discussant: Ben Thibault  (Pembina Institute)

3:15 – 3:30 Coffee

3:30 – 4:15 Session 4: Electricity Demand Response

Knowledge is (Less) Power: Behavioral Economics and Electricity Demand Response

David Rapson (University of California, Davis)

Discussant: David Brown (University of Alberta)

4:15 – 4:45 Concluding Remarks

Andrew Leach (University of Alberta) – tentative

4:45– 5:45 Reception

5:45 – 7:15 Dinner

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May 28, 2015