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Investment risk and return under renewable decarbonisation of a power market


Climate Policy


Management Science and Operations

Authors / Editors

Munoz J;Bunn D W


Publication Year



How does financial performance risk affect investments in low-carbon electricity-generating technologies to achieve climate policy targets? A detailed risk simulation of price formation in the Great Britain wholesale power market is used to show that the increasing replacement of fossil facilities with wind, ceteris paribus, may cause a deterioration of the financial risk–return performance metrics for incremental investments. Low-carbon investments appear to be high risk, low return, and as such may require a progressively higher level of support over time than envisaged by the conventional degression trajectories. The increasing riskiness of the wholesale market will to some extent offset the benefits of lower capital costs and operational efficiencies if investors need to satisfy cautious debt coverage ratios alongside positive expected returns. This increased risk is additional to the well-known ‘merit order effect’ of low-carbon investments progressively depressing wholesale prices and hence their expected investment returns.


Coal; Financing; Incentives; Investment; Risk; Wind power

Available on ECCH


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