Self-financed efficiency incentives: case study of Mexico
Numerous countries use public funds to subsidize residential electricity for a variety of socioeconomic objectives. These subsidies lower the value of energy efficiency to the consumer while raising it for the government. Further, while it would be especially helpful to have stringent Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for end uses in this environment, they are hard to strengthen without imposing a cost on ratepayers. In this second-best world, where the presence of subsidies limits the government’s ability to strengthen standards, we find that efficiency-induced savings in subsidy payments can be a significant source of financing for energy efficiency incentive programs. Here, we introduce the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Energy Efficiency Revenue Analysis (LEERA) model to estimate the greatest appliance efficiency improvements that can be achieved in Mexico by the revenue neutral financing of incentive programs from savings in subsidy payments yielded by the same efficiency improvements. We analyze Mexico’s tariff structures and the long-run marginal cost of supply to calculate the marginal savings for the government from appliance efficiency. We find that these avoided subsidy payments alone can provide enough revenue to cover the full incremental manufacturing cost of refrigerators that are 29 % more efficient and televisions that are 36 % more efficient than baseline models. For room air conditioners (ACs), the same source of financing can contribute up to one third of the incremental manufacturing cost of a model that is 10 % more efficient than baseline. We analyze the sensitivity of our results to the most important parameters and find our main conclusion that efficiency-induced avoided subsidy payments will contribute significantly to financing efficiency incentive programs in Mexico to be significant and robust.