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Faculty of Economics

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Laing, T. and Grubb, M.

Low Carbon Electricity Investment: The Limitations of Traditional Approaches and a Radical Alternative


Abstract: Moving to a very low carbon electricity system is central to meeting the goals of UK energy policy, and indeed to the wider global challenge of tackling climate change. This will require massive investment in low carbon electricity sources. This working paper identifies four key difficulties with the current mainstream approach of relying on the impact of a carbon price in the present liberalised electricity market, supplemented with additional incentive mechanisms like renewable obligation certificates and feed-in tariffs. We then summarise alternate mechanisms and propose a new approach, aimed at harnessing the potential interest and capital of electricity consumers, large and small, directly in funding low carbon electricity investments, in the form of longterm ‘Green Power’ contracts that operate in a separate, differentiated contract market.

Keywords: Electricity, Renewables, Climate Change, Green Power

JEL Codes: Q41


EPRG Paper Link: 1032

Open Access Link: