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The impact of Chinese carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) on low carbon energy (LCE) investment

Mo, Jian-Lei, Agnolucci, Paolo, Jiang, Mao-Rong, Fan, Ying
Energy policy 2016 v.89 pp. 271-283
carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon markets, case studies, electricity costs, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, issues and policy, models, power plants, risk, wind, wind power, China
China is planning to introduce emission trading scheme (ETS) to decrease CO2 emission. As low carbon energy (LCE) will play a pivotal role in reducing CO2 emissions, our paper is to assess the extent and the conditions under which a carbon ETS can deliver LCE investment in China. We chose wind technology as a case study and a real-option based model was built to explore the impact of a number of variables and design features on investment decisions, e.g. carbon and electricity price, carbon market risk, carbon price floor and ceiling and on-grid ratio. We compute critical values of these variables and features and explore trade-offs among them. According to our work, a carbon ETS has a significant effect on wind power plant investment although it cannot support investment in wind power on its own. Carbon price stabilization mechanisms such as carbon price floor can significantly improve the effect of carbon ETS but the critical floor to support investment is still much higher than the carbon price in China pilot ETSs. Our results show that other policy measures will be needed to promote low-carbon energy development in China.