In 1978, Congress passed the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) in response to the energy crisis of the early 1970s. One of the unintended results of PURPA has been to show that electric generation was not a natural monopoly and could be opened to competition. Both the theoretical and empirical determinants of cogeneration and how they may be affected by future electric power industry restructuring are important for future industrial generation decisions. This paper explores these determinants and identifies differences between industrial cogenerators which sell power back into the electricity grid (commercial generators) and those which keep all of their electricity generation for internal purposes (self generators). The empirical results indicate that increases in industrial firm technical capabilities tends to increase their probabilities of both commercial and self generating. In addition, the models indicate that increases in retail electricity prices and industrial output increases industrial generation probabilities. The ability to switch fuels enhances industrial generation probabilities, as does a decrease in the price of natural gas. The results also imply that under electric restructuring a number of industrial generators may find that they face a stranded cost problem much like the one faced by their electric utility counterparts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics