Distributed Generation Investment by a Microgrid Under Uncertainty

July 24, 2006 - 12:00pm

This study examines a California-based microgrid's decision to invest in a distributed generation (DG) unit that operates on natural gas. While the long-term natural gas generation cost is stochastc, we initially assume that the microgrid may purchase electricity at a fixed retail rate from its utility. Using the real options approach, we find natural gas generation cost thresholds that trigger DG investment. Furthermore, the consideration of operational flexibility by the microgrid accelerates DG investment, while the option to disconnect entirely from the utility is not attractive. By allowing the electricity price to be stochastic, we next determine an investment threshold boundary and find that high electricity price volatility relative to that of natural gas generation cost delays investment while simultaneously increasing the value of the investment. We conclude by using this result to find the implicit option value of the DG unit. For more information about this seminar, please contact: JoAnne Lambert 510.486.4835, or send e-mail to JMLambert@lbl.gov

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