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An options pricing approach to ramping rate restrictions at hydro power plants

Shilei Niu and Margaret Insley ()

Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2016, vol. 63, issue C, 25-52

Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of ramping rate restrictions imposed on hydro operations to protect aquatic ecosystems. The optimal ramping decision is specified as an optimal control problem which results in a Hamilton Jacobi Bellman (HJB) equation. Electricity prices are modelled as a regime switching stochastic process. The optimal control is determined by solving the HJB equation numerically using a fully implicit finite difference approach with semi-Lagrangian time stepping. The paper focuses on the effect of ramping restrictions on a hydro plant׳s value and optimal operations, and provides an analysis of which factors cause ramping restrictions to have a greater or lesser impact on profitability. It is shown that hydro plant value is negatively affected by ramping restrictions, but the extent of the impact depends on key parameters which determine the desirability of frequent changes in water release rates. Interestingly for the case considered, value is not sensitive to ramping restrictions over a large range of restrictions. The results point to the importance of accurately modelling electricity prices in gauging the trade offs involved in imposing restrictions on hydro operators which may hinder their ability to respond to volatile electricity prices and meet peak demands.

Keywords: Ramping rate; Regime switching; Hydro power plant; Electricity; Stochastic control; Hamilton Jacobi Bellman-Partial Differential Equation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C61 G12 Q25 Q49 Q51 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2015.11.003

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Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control is currently edited by J. Bullard, C. Chiarella, H. Dawid, C. H. Hommes, P. Klein and C. Otrok

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