Fall 2017 - 60850 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2017 - 60850 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Markets for Electricity

This course will examine policy issues related to the electric utility industry from an economic perspective.  Topics will include:

  • A quick overview of concepts in electrical engineering (measurements, physical constraints, networks)
  • An historical perspective
  • System dispatch concepts (security-constrained economic dispatch, economic merit order, identification and modeling of physical constraints)
  • The generation of electricity from nuclear power plants, coal and natural gas power plants, and renewable energy sources
  • The design of wholesale electricity markets (real-time markets for energy, day-ahead markets for energy and ancillary services, bidding behavior)
  • Competition in the provision of electricity at the retail level
  • Electricity market restructuring activities around the world
  • Energy transformation toward renewables (e.g., solar and wind)
  • Ensuring adequacy of supply in a competitive market for electricity and the challenges face by power plant owners in the recovery of large fixed costs when markets price electricity based on short-run marginal cost
  • Placing a value on service reliability
  • Modeling energy demand (functional forms, price elasticity of demand estimates)
  • Forecasting the demand for energy at various scales (time-series models, econometric modeling, end-use models)
  • Market monitoring and surveillance
  • Economic regulation of electricity system functions with natural monopoly characteristics (non-discriminatory open access to transmission, price regulation of transmission and distribution providers, regulatory principles)
  • Energy efficiency (opportunities for end-use efficiency, cost-effectiveness tests from various perspectives, the selection of discount rates)
  • Approaches to achieving environmental goals (e.g., cap and trade, pollution emissions taxes, best available control technology, environmental dispatch)
  • Energy poverty and opportunities for electrification in developing countries
  • Electricity pricing strategies (goals, time-of-use, real-time pricing, inclining blocks, demand charges)
  • Energy storage (e.g., batteries): the game changer
  • The “smart grid”
  • Demand response programs

There is a term paper requirement, a midterm exam and homework assignments.


BRB 1.120