Academic journal article Journal of Economic Development

Renewable Energy Csops: An Updated Analysis for Wind Power Applications

Academic journal article Journal of Economic Development

Renewable Energy Csops: An Updated Analysis for Wind Power Applications

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. INTRODUCTION

Renewable power has gained increasing importance during the last two decades, at least. Dependent on their natural prerequisites such as landscape or the climate, but also based on their predominant energy supply structure, countries all over the world focus on different kinds of renewable power production. Areas with heavy insolation tend to invest into solar power (either solar heat and/or photovoltaics, PV), while countries that possess convenient wind conditions invest into wind turbines. Also, there are countries that exhibit good conditions for hydro power or geothermal power.

In contrast to "conventional" forms of energy production, renewable energy comprises both advantages and challenges: While conventional power requires fuel, most renewable power systems do not, and as such, usually possess very low or even zero marginal costs. That is, once the facility (e.g. a solar park or a wind turbine) is installed, it requires little maintenance. However, many countries' power supply structure is arranged in a centralized way, due to monolithic coal and/or nuclear power plants. This oftentimes led to natural monopolies in the past, with all its advantages and disadvantages. Contrary, most renewable forms of energy production require a decentralized arrangement, which poses difficulties for the energy distribution system, but also has the potential to reface the traditional, monopolistic scheme of energy production.

This is where the kelsonian CSOP (Consumer Stock Ownership Plan) idea comes into place: CSOPs, as discussed by Kelso and Adler (1958) and Kelso and Kelso (1986), provide a legal construct that is specifically designed to enable consumers to participate in productive capital and helps to cracking prevalent monopolies. Kelso (1989) describes the CSOP's mode of operation in great detail and also discusses the successful first CSOP implementation of "Valley Nitrogen Producers Inc." in 1958, busting a prevalent local monopoly in the fertilizer industry, decreasing the fertilizer prices drastically and bringing allocations back to more economically efficient levels.

Today, the CSOP can be seen as an alternative to the cooperative model of decentralized production facilities, especially for (but not limited to) renewable power production. Lowitzsch and Goebel (2013) argue that in comparison, the CSOP is a more flexible, low-overhead and low-threshold approach for consumers investing into power production projects. In this paper we analyze whether CSOP-financed wind power production can be profitable under certain conditions: We compare two wind potential regimes, each at two roll-out scenarios and two scenarios for the economic climate. In total, we have eight scenarios. These scenarios are set-up to work as a sensitivity test for each other: As such, for example they show how the system will react if there are changes to the interest rates or to the wind conditions. Comparing the right selection of two scenarios will allow for a brief sensitivity analysis, keeping all other factors constant (comparative static analysis). For each of the scenarios, we discuss the amortization time, the free cash flow development, the repayment interests and the returns paths, as well as other indicators. The simulation of CSOP implementations takes place for wind power plants in Germany, since the CSOP concept is already adapted for the German company law structure. Also, Germany possesses attractive wind power sites and a guaranteed feed-in tariff. Furthermore, there are governmental subsidies for renewable power in the form of low interest loans. In conclusion, we find that the concept usually comes to profitable solutions and provides rewarding investments.

The paper is structured as follows: Section 2 provides a brief overview of the CSOP implementation. Afterward, Section 3 discusses the proposed investment projects in general. In Section 4 we present the financial indicators used. …

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