Electric Utility Mergers in the Presence of Distributed Renewable Energy


Firm consolidation through mergers and acquisitions could be a strategic option for the electricity industry which has recently witnessed several transformations such as renewable integration and regulatory changes. This study uses a Cournot oligopoly model to examine the profitability of electric utility mergers in the presence of distributed renewable energy sources. We introduce two sector specific parameters that influence merger profitability: the rate at which renewable energy raises the marginal grid integration cost and the extent to which renewable energy reduces pollution intensity. Our model predicts that an increase in the first parameter reduces the profitability of profitable mergers while an increase in the latter increases the profitability of profitable mergers. We find that due to the strategic substitutability between renewable and non-renewable energy, an increase in energy produced from distributed sources reduces the profitability of profitable mergers and reduces losses from unprofitable mergers. Furthermore, we show that the variability in electricity produced from renewable sources induces utilities to produce more exacerbating the extent that extra renewable energy affects merger profitability. Results from the theoretical model are illustrated by simulating a hypothetical merger among investor-owned utilities in the PJM market.



Keywords and Phrases

Emission tax; Grid integration; Mergers and acquisitions; Pollution intensity; Renewable energy

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Article - Journal

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© 2021 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2021