expertise \ competitive markets

Designing and analyzing market structures to ensure
their compatibility with sustainable energy solutions

In much of the world, competitive markets are replacing rate regulation and resource planning. Many factors - including technological improvements, regional price disparities and miniaturisation and standardization of power generation options - underlie this broad movement.

Ironically, the process of restructuring and opening energy markets to competition is often termed "re-regulation". That's because establishing workably competitive markets raises a vast array of complex new issues and choices. Indeed, since electricity must be produced and consumed instantaneously, the rules governing competitive electricity markets can be even more complicated than those for monopoly regulation.

This complexity is at the heart of the Helios Centre's rejection of simplistic assumptions about what does and doesn't work. We know, for example, that designing and implementing competitive markets in such a societally-critical economic sector requires going beyond market power studies to examine such questions as:

Establishing these and other rules of the game will to a large extent determine who wins and who loses in the new energy marketplace. Moreover, creating a level playing field on which new, environmentally preferable technologies can compete against other energy options - and in which energy efficiency is enabled to play its rightful role - requires meticulous consideration of a wide variety of issues and scenarios.

Since its inception, the Helios Centre has helped decision-makers and stakeholders alike understand the effect that various market mechanisms and structures would have on goals such as minimizing consumer rates, improving energy efficiency and enabling market penetration of new "green" and distributed energy technologies.

In particular, the Centre studies such issues as market structure, open access transmission pricing and scheduling rules, and environmental and public goods mechanisms. In so doing, we have provided expert testimony, published monographs, provided client assistance, led training workshops, written papers published in leading energy journals and been guest speakers at key industry conferences dealing with competitive market design and impacts.

Our approach combines a commitment to rigourous analysis, a fundamental understanding of evolving practices and rejection of one-size-fits-all solutions in favour of full consideration of regional resource and market caracteristics. Our goal is to ensure that, where market competition is implemented, it is done in a way that compensates market imperfections, thereby moving society closer to a cost-efficient and sustainable energy future.

For an example of the type of work we do in this field, please go to Accomplishments / Sample Projects on the menu to the left. To download our publications, please choose Publications.