New Thinking

These pages set out our wider thinking on issues relating to innovation, governance and practice for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system. This includes contributions from the IGov team, the wider EPG group, as well as invited authors. These articles are not reviewed.

  • New Thinking: Restructuring GB’s Energy Institutions

    April 18, 2016

    New Thinking: Restructuring GB’s Energy Institutions

    Restructuring GB’s Energy Institutions – why it is worth the cost Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 18 April 2016  IGov has been advocating an institutional framework (see Figure 1) which it argues will better meet the challenges faced by the GB energy system, whilst also opening up new opportunities and enabling their capture (Table 1 at the end). However, from the point of DECC and the Minister, one can understand if they ask: what is the cost of this, and is it worth the effort? We argue that we cannot know what the true ‘total’ benefits

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  • New Thinking: Distribution Service Providers

    April 15, 2016

    New Thinking: Distribution Service Providers

    Distribution Service Providers – an Update 15th April 2016 In January we produced a blog introducing the idea of Distribution Services Providers. Since then we have been discussing and thinking about the idea in more detail and the slides below help explain what a DSP does. The slides show: the NY Reforming the Energy Vision to explain that DSPs are a new value proposition and become the ‘heart’ of the electricity system . how a DSP is the opposite of a traditional network company in relation to system optimisation and energy services. what the role

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  • New Thinking: Hinkley Point C, time for a Plan B

    March 11, 2016

    New Thinking: Hinkley Point C, time for a Plan B

    Hinkley Point C, time for a Plan B Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 11 March 2016  Five years ago today, the Fukishima nuclear power plant disaster happened, precipitating closure of all 40 or so nuclear power plants working in Japan at that time, with only one re-opened and working since then. Just prior to this in 2010, the GB Coalition Government announced details of their Electricity Market Reform (EMR), the intention of which was to put in place a framework suitable to attract investment in new nuclear power plants. Since then, GB has witnessed an unfolding

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  • New Thinking: CMA Summary of Provisional Decisions

    March 10, 2016

    New Thinking: CMA Summary of Provisional Decisions

    The CMA Summary of Provisional Decisions: a mixed bag of good and bad, but overall misses the real issues faced by the GB energy system Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 10 March 2016  The CMA has announced its Energy Market Investigation Summary of Provisional Decision on Remedies (with a shorter version available here). The full version will be published shortly.  Overall, it is a mixed bag – quite a few good things; some bad things. However, the CMA, by virtue of its Duties, has to investigate the energy market within the dimension of competition, and to

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  • New Thinking: Women in Energy 2016

    March 8, 2016

    New Thinking: Women in Energy 2016

    E & Y Report 2016: Women in Energy – very little change from last year. Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 8 March 2016  Ernst and Young have just published their 3rd Annual Report about women in the power sector. As can be seen from the figure below 5% of executive board members are women – the same from last year;  non-execs have gone up 2% to 19%; the total women board members (exec and non-exec) is up 1% to 16% and senior management is also up 1% to 14%.  At this rate, it will take

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  • New Thinking: Not just independent but also integrated

    March 4, 2016

    New Thinking: Not just independent but also integrated

    Not just independent but also integrated – the future for energy system operation Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 4th March 2016 According to reports, the government is now actively thinking of removing the electricity system operator function from National Grid and establishing an independent not-for-profit SO instead. Over the last year, IGov has been arguing for the creation of an independent SO as part of a wider rethink of energy system governance – see here,  here and here. One reason is about perverse incentives – currently National Grid is supposed to co-optimise transmission and system operation, but

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  • New Thinking: our evolving energy systems are changing fast

    February 22, 2016

    New Thinking: our evolving energy systems are changing fast

    More flexible, more renewable – our evolving energy systems are changing fast Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 22 February 2016  There are two changes which are fundamentally altering both practice and mind-set within electricity systems around the world. The first is the rapid take-up of variable power renewables within a few countries or states. Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain, California, and Hawaii all derive 25 to 43 per cent of their electricity generation from variable renewables sources (primarily wind and solar). The second change, building on the first, is a greater understanding of the value of flexibility for

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  • New Thinking: Depoliticising energy policy

    February 16, 2016

    New Thinking: Depoliticising energy policy

    Depoliticising energy policy: transformative ideas won’t happen when technocrats are in charge Caroline Kuzemko, IGov Team, 16th February, 2016   The depoliticisation of policymaking is, of course, not confined to the UK (as Firat Cengiz recently argued concerning the European Union’s democratic deficit). However, a recent UK example is offered by the National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) set up in October last year by HM Treasury. The NIC is independent of government, but ‘works with’ the Treasury. Indeed the NIC is so ‘independent’ that the first CEO has already been informed, by the Chancellor no less, of what the UK’s

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  • Landmark US Supreme Court Decision in Favour of Demand Response

    January 26, 2016

    Landmark US Supreme Court Decision in Favour of Demand Response

    Landmark US Supreme Court Decision in Favour of Demand Response Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 26th January 2016    The US Supreme Court has just found that demand response (DR) is sold into wholesale markets, and therefore falls within the authority of the US Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has authority over regional wholesale markets. In effect, this means that the multitude of demand response products and markets which have developed over the last 15 years or so, in various US States, are legal. The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) claimed that FERC did not

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  • New Thinking: Spreading the opportunities of sustainable energy in Germany

    January 22, 2016

    New Thinking: Spreading the opportunities of sustainable energy in Germany

    Spreading the opportunities of sustainable energy in Germany Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 22nd January 2016  A recent presentation by the BDI (the Voice of German Industry) put forward a simple, but powerful, message in support of the German Energiewende. It argues that German industry has managed to improve its energy intensity (total primary energy supply divided by units of GDP, slide 2); described the energiewende targets from 2010-2050 (slide 3); set out what it thinks the global market potential is for products necessary to meet the energiewende’s targets, and what percentage of that global market

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