Green investment under policy uncertainty and Bayesian learning
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEnergy. 2018, 161 1262-1281. 10.1016/j.energy.2018.07.137
Many countries have introduced support schemes to accelerate investments in renewable energy (RE). Experience shows that, over time, retraction or revision of support schemes become more likely. Investors in RE are greatly affected by the risk of such subsidy changes. This paper examines how investment behavior is affected by updating a subjective belief on the timing of a subsidy revision, incorporating Bayesian learning into a real options modeling approach. We analyze a scenario where a retroactive downward adjustment of fixed feed-in tariffs (FIT) is expected through a regime switching model. We find that investors are less likely to invest when the arrival rate of a policy change increases. Further, investors prefer a lower FIT with a long expected lifespan. We also consider an extension where, after retraction, electricity is sold in a free market. We find that if policy uncertainty is high, an increase in the FIT will be less effective at accelerating investment. However, if policy risk is low, FIT schemes can significantly accelerate investment, even in highly volatile markets.