Efficient Provision of Electricity for the United States and Switzerland

Boris Krey, Philippe K Widmer, Peter Zweifel

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


This study applies financial portfolio theory to determine efficient frontiers in the provision of electricity for the United States and Switzerland. Expected returns are defined by the rate of productivity increase of power generation (adjusted for external costs), volatility, by its standard deviation. Since unobserved productivity shocks are found to be correlated, Seemingly Unrelated Regression Estimation (SURE) is used to filter out the systematic component of the covariance matrix of the productivity changes. Results suggest that as of 2003, the feasible maximum expected return (MER) electricity portfolio for the United States contains more Coal, Nuclear, and Wind than actual but markedly less Gas and Oil. The minimum variance (MV) portfolio contains markedly more Oil, again more Coal, Nuclear, and Wind but almost no Gas. Regardless of the choice between MER and MV, U.S. utilities are found to lie substantially inside the efficient frontier. This is even more true of their Swiss counterparts, likely due to continuing regulation of electricity markets.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUWA Business School
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEconomics Discussion Papers

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