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.

  • Postcard from Australia: Canberra

    February 12, 2018

    Postcard from Australia: Canberra

    Postcard from Canberra Helen Poulter, IGov Team, 12th February 2018 Last week I reported that the uptake of solar PV and storage was not completely due to the economic benefits that it can produce, but also to the idea of owning new technology. This idea – that Australians embrace new technology – was confirmed again this week, and although the FiT rate initially offered was extremely generous, it was also this willingness to try something new that led to the world-leading percentage of household ownership. Being in Canberra there has to be a political angle. When

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  • Postcard from Australia: Sydney

    February 5, 2018

    Postcard from Australia: Sydney

    Postcard from Sydney Helen Poulter, IGov Team, 5th February 2018   This postcard from Australia, is the first of a series which is being undertaken during Phase 1 of research for my PhD looking at the role that adaptive governance will play in enabling energy system transformation. At the end of my stay, I will provide an overview postcard of energy in Australia. In between then and now, I will send postcards from different States and will also provide a comparison between the States in future postcards. This initial postcard is written after being in Sydney

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  • New Thinking: The RIIO-ED1 Price review – Just how successful is RIIO – update

    January 23, 2018

    New Thinking: The RIIO-ED1 Price review – Just how successful is RIIO – update

    RIIO Update Helen Poulter, IGov Team, 23rd January 2018 In June 2017 IGov reported on the RIIO ED1 price control.  This was the first annual review by Ofgem of the RIIO ED1 price control – effected after the companies had been working to it for one year.  The blog  concluded that although there were minor improvements this new regulation strategy did not incentivise the DNO’s to do things differently. In July 2017, a report by Citizens Advice highlighted the forecasted RoRE (return on regulatory equity) – the financial return achieved by investors during the price

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  • New Thinking: The Capacity Market – How did we get here?

    January 15, 2018

    New Thinking: The Capacity Market – How did we get here?

    The Capacity Market – How did we get here? Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 15th January 2018 This winter is the first in which Britain’s electricity Capacity Market comes into play. The Capacity Market (CM) is part of a set of policy measures introduced in 2013 known as the Electricity Market Reform. The basic case made for a capacity intervention in the early 2010s was that increasing amounts of wind power would make average wholesale prices lower as well as making periods of high prices rarer and more unpredictable, with the result that no one would

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  • New Thinking: Waiting for the ER P2/6 review

    January 11, 2018

    New Thinking: Waiting for the ER P2/6 review

    Waiting for Godot the ER P2/6 review Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 11th January 2018 Yesterday a member of the IGov team attended the excellent (although somewhat male dominated) Conference on Electricity System Change: Flexibility and costs, organised by the University of Strathclyde, UKERC and the IEEE. The final panel featured Paul Bingham, recently appointed as Ofgem’s first ever Chief Engineer. One of the areas he mentioned an interest in was reviewing and updating industry standards for security of supply, which made a lot of sense within the context of a conference highlighting a system experiencing

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  • New Thinking: Four years after switching, I get my credit back

    January 8, 2018

    New Thinking: Four years after switching, I get my credit back

    Four years after switching, I get my credit back I wrote two blogs at the beginning of 2014 about my experience in switching my gas account from British Gas to Good Energy. The first blog on 8th January 2014 described the switch to Good Energy. I began the process on 12 November 2013 and by early January 2014 I was a Good Energy customer – the process was very straight forward. The second blog was written on 20th February 2014 and described my efforts to get back the credit of £35 or so pounds

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  • New Thinking: The Role of the CCC in a reformed GB Institutional Framework

    November 30, 2017

    New Thinking: The Role of the CCC in a reformed GB Institutional Framework

    The Role of the CCC in a reformed GB Institutional Framework Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 30th November 2017 IGov1 developed a fit-for-purpose GB governance framework (here and here), and is shown in Figure 1 below. This framework endeavours to bring together the relationships between all GB energy institutions in a ‘whole system’ sense, and it endeavours to cover all major institutions which will have to exist, and all high-level institutional decisions which will have to be made in transforming from the current GB governance framework to a fit-for-purpose one. IGov2 has taken this framework – the

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  • New Thinking: Building political consensus for energy transformation in Britain

    November 22, 2017

    New Thinking: Building political consensus for energy transformation in Britain

    Building political consensus for energy transformation in Britain Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 23rd November 2017 The IGov project is about the governance structures and processes needed for the transformation of the British energy system. At the heart of this transformation is the need for the radical decarbonisation of energy, but in a way that is affordable and secure. We believe (and it is now fairly widely accepted) that this transformation will also involve a move away from a centralised supply focused paradigm towards more flexible demand and the expansion of distributed energy resources; indeed these

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  • New Thinking: On Professor Helm’s political economy

    October 30, 2017

    New Thinking: On Professor Helm’s political economy

    On Professor Helm’s political economy Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 30th October 2017 On Professor Helm’s political economy Dieter Helm’s much anticipated cost of energy review has already attracted a lot of critical response, for example on his call for an economy-wide carbon price, the idea of folding the CfD and the Capacity Market into auctions for ‘equivalent firm capacity’, making renewables cover their own intermittency costs, and indeed querying his starting point that energy costs are ‘too high’. CarbonBrief has a useful summary of all the various points that have been made. As others have

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  • New Thinking: The complex world of price caps – should GB have one, and if so who is eligible?

    October 26, 2017

    New Thinking: The complex world of price caps – should GB have one, and if so who is eligible?

    The complex world of price caps – should GB have one, and if so who is eligible? Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 26th October 2017 Energy price caps have been an important part of the political landscape ever since Ed Milliband announced he would freeze prices in 2013, if the Labour Party was elected at the next election. This ultimately led to a Competition and Mergers Authority Investigation into the Energy Market, and the degree to which it is competitive (please see the IGov website for our multiple submissions to the CMA investigation, kicking off with

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