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: Why is Australia becoming an interesting case study for energy reform?

    January 24, 2017

    New Thinking: Why is Australia becoming an interesting case study for energy reform?

    Why is Australia becoming an interesting case study for energy reform? Helen Poulter, IGov Team, 24th January 2017 (version updated on 24th Jan) The term ‘utility death spiral’ has seen a re-emergence recently, especially in Australia.  The term was originally coined with the new era of competition as energy markets opened up and the rising costs of some utilities meant that consumers could switch to cheaper alternatives/sources. Then, it was much more a conceptual argument – a threat – to ensure policies which did not lead to a death spiral.  A perfect storm of requirements would

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  • New Thinking: Cheap ubiquitous battery storage

    December 9, 2016

    New Thinking: Cheap ubiquitous battery storage

    Cheap ubiquitous battery storage – a thought experiment Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 9th December 2016  A few days ago I heard a presentation by Paul Massara of North Star Solar, a new solar PV + battery home energy system start-up. One of his points was that scale manufacture of lithium ion batteries means that electrical storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, and PV + battery packages are now cost effective in the UK with the right financing package. Certainly such systems seem to be taking off in places like Australia, and are now required in

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  • IGov2: Innovation and Governance for Future Energy Systems

    November 11, 2016

    IGov2: Innovation and Governance for Future Energy Systems

    IGov2 (Innovation and Governance for Future Energy Systems) IGov2 commenced on 1 October 2016, and will run for 3 years. It is an extension of the EPSRC funded IGov project. The IGov2 team (shown in the picture) partly reflects continuity – Catherine Mitchell, Matthew Lockwood and Richard Hoggett – but also reflects the slightly altered focus towards future energy systems. Newcomers to the team are Jess Britton, Antony Froggatt (part time) and Helen Poulter (who is doing a PhD on the South Australia’s energy situation). IGov2 argues that the GB energy system effectively runs along

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  • New Thinking: Financing (green) industrial strategy

    October 7, 2016

    New Thinking: Financing (green) industrial strategy

    Financing (green) industrial strategy – lessons from history Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 7th October 2016 An intriguing aspect of the (now not so) new government is its interest in industrial strategy. In the green community, there is a lot of hope that this interest will provide an opportunity for a more active green industrial strategy – for example, see here, here and here. However, attempts to develop such a strategy are not new, they have been tried in various forms before several times, including the 2006 Environmental Innovations Advisory Group, the 2008 Commission on Environmental

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  • Calling all rising stars of the energy transformation

    September 28, 2016

    Calling all rising stars of the energy transformation

    Calling all rising stars of the energy transformation The IGov Final conference: Energy Governance- new ideas, new institutions, new people will take place on 6 December at British Academy, London, SW1Y 5AG. As part of the event we want to identify and promote a cohort of ‘rising stars’ of the energy system, by which we mean: dynamic early-career individuals; new entrants to the energy market; and people promoting innovative ideas and approaches to creating a sustainable, affordable and secure energy system. They could be from academia, industry, Government and regulation, NGOs, communities, etc. from the

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  • New Thinking: Optimising the energy system from the bottom up

    September 12, 2016

    New Thinking: Optimising the energy system from the bottom up

    New Thinking: Optimising the energy system from the bottom up Richard Hoggett, IGov Team, 12th September 2016 I recently blogged about how the momentum for change within energy systems is much closer to the demand side and as such, there is a growing need to rethink the role that end users as customers, consumers and citizens play within the energy system in GB. This is happening because many of the technologies, business models and changing social preferences are focussed on end users and they provide new opportunities to create a smarter, flexible and integrated system

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  • New Thinking: Transformational Regulation- comparing the NY REV & RIIO

    August 11, 2016

    New Thinking: Transformational Regulation- comparing the NY REV & RIIO

    Transformational Regulation – comparing the NY REV & RIIO (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 11th August 2016   IGov has published a number of blogs etc about the New York Reforming the Energy Vision (NY REV), and in particular NY’s new, regulatory value proposition, distribution service providers. When discussing the NY REV in GB with various stakeholders in different forums (for example, the DSO versus DSP workshop), the comments received can be divided into four general streams: 1. a general feeling of not understanding what the NY REV is

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  • New Thinking: The embedded benefit saga

    August 8, 2016

    New Thinking: The embedded benefit saga

    The embedded benefit saga: why GB needs a progressive energy vision Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 8th August 2016  Over the last few weeks, new possibilities have been injected into the energy policy debate, and now is the time to forge a progressive UK energy vision. Theresa May, our Prime Minister, said in her inaugural speech: ‘’We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.’’ A few days later, she set out the principles of her economic

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  • New Thinking: What I wanted to say on the Today programme this morning

    July 29, 2016

    New Thinking: What I wanted to say on the Today programme this morning

    What I wanted to say on the Today programme this morning Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 29th July 2016  I was just on the Today programme at 8.54 am, and was not able to give my view on George Monbiot’s proposal that we restart an Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) programme to solve the twin problems of using up our stockpile of nuclear waste, and have a long term source of energy. My answer to this would have been that the problem with using nuclear waste as a fuel in reactors is that it makes the fission

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  • New Thinking: Giving control back to the people – why the Government should ditch HPC

    July 29, 2016

    New Thinking: Giving control back to the people – why the Government should ditch HPC

    Giving control back to the people – why the Government should ditch HPC Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 29th July 2016  EDF has just given the go-ahead to investment in Hinkley Point C (HPC, a new build nuclear power plant). However, the GB Government has announced that it is going to ‘think carefully’ and will announce its decision in the Autumn. This is a good decision for multiple reasons (see past blogs, here, here and here). In her inaugural speech, our new Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘’We will do everything we can to give you

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