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: The odd couple – will a new Strategy and Policy Statement help sort out the relationship between government and Ofgem?

    August 18, 2014

    New Thinking: The odd couple – will a new Strategy and Policy Statement help sort out the relationship between government and Ofgem?

    The odd couple: Will a new Strategy and Policy Statement help sort out the relationship between government and Ofgem? Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 18 August 2014 About Matthew: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Matthew_Lockwood Twitter: https://twitter.com/climatepolitics Back in 2011, shortly after coming into power, the Government did a review of Ofgem – some may remember that the Conservatives were unhappy with the regulator, and their 2010 manifesto promised reforms to make it focus more on government policy. That review basically said that the guidance given by the previous government to Ofgem over the 2000s had not been effective, and a clearer statement

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  • Lessons from America Series:  A quick link to all 8 blogs – Lets not be so parochial in GB

    August 4, 2014

    Lessons from America Series:  A quick link to all 8 blogs – Lets not be so parochial in GB

    A quick link to all 8 blogs: Lets not be so parochial in GB Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 4th August, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell Europe’s 500 million (m) population dwarfs the US’s 320 m but the US, with its 50 States, has a far bigger pool of differing energy regulatory situations to experiment and learn from than Europe’s 25 countries; and the States have a far longer history of working together than Europe does. American, or specifically the USA (as opposed to Canadian or South American) energy regulation is, at first sight, very different from that in

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  • Lessons from America: Capacity market details and demand side response

    August 1, 2014

    Lessons from America: Capacity market details and demand side response

    Capacity market details and demand side response Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 1st August, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell Back in 2010, the UK Government announced an Electricity Market Reform (EMR) which was to transform the GB electricity system into one fit for the 21st Century. One of the four main planks of EMR is a capacity market (CM). It was argued that such a CM was necessary (1) in order to stimulate sufficient investment to ensure security of supply, and the Government’s original preferred option was a targeted strategic reserve mechanism (page 100, para 69). Since 2010,

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  • New Thinking Blog: Women and Energy

    July 28, 2014

    New Thinking Blog: Women and Energy

    Women and Energy Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 28th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell A recent Ernst and Young report has shown that only 4% of executive board members of the top 100 utility companies is female. Not only does the sector have minimal women, but it is also primarily older and white in character – with 60% of its management over 40. The report argues that this is worrying in terms of diversity of thinking given that the current big kit, centralised energy model is in the middle of fundamental disruptive change and needs new and

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  • New Thinking Blog: The Boundary of The CMA Energy Market Investigation

    July 24, 2014

    New Thinking Blog: The Boundary of The CMA Energy Market Investigation

    The Boundary of The CMA Energy Market Investigation Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 24th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell The CMA has just announced the Statement of Issues for its Energy Market Investigation. Overall, it is a good document and explicitly invites parties to tell them, with reasons, if the issues they have identified should or should not be within scope, and if any issues have been missed. The submission deadline is 14 August 2014 – not great for some of us going on holiday in August – and should be sent to EnergyMarket@cma.gsi.gov.uk. As the Statement

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  • Lessons from America: is the US form of ‘decoupling’ transferable to GB?

    July 18, 2014

    Lessons from America: is the US form of ‘decoupling’ transferable to GB?

    Is the US form of ‘decoupling’ (ie breaking the link between energy saving and reduced revenues) transferable to GB? Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 18th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell There is an implicit incentive in traditional economic regulation which compels utilities (meaning the main components of energy systems (producers/generators, transmitters, distributors and retail / supply) to encourage consumption rather than to reduce energy use. Utilities make more money selling energy than they can when encouraging an efficient use of it. This is at odds with current energy policy and is sometimes known as the throughput incentive

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  • Lessons from America: Customer Default Service with Competitive Retail – is this the way forward in GB?

    July 11, 2014

    Lessons from America: Customer Default Service with Competitive Retail – is this the way forward in GB?

    Customer Default Service with Competitive Retail – is this the way forward in GB? Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 11th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell In general, the merits of retail regulation versus retail competition is framed in a 2 by 2 matrix whereby retail regulation protects customers but undermines innovation and retail competition stimulates innovation but reduces customer protection. For those of us who lived with the fat-days of the Central Electricity Generating Board pre-1990, supporting innovation has, in principle, (slightly and uncomfortably) trumped customer protection. However, the failure of the restructured electricity system to produce

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  • Blog from Berlin: Part Eins

    July 9, 2014

    Blog from Berlin: Part Eins

    Blog from Berlin – Part Eins Caroline Kuzemko, IGov Team, 9th July, 2014 About Caroline: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Caroline_Kuzemko Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolineKuzemko Have you ever noticed how things can appear relatively straightforward from afar, but the nearer you get to a situation the more complex it seems? I have just spent two weeks in Berlin interviewing analysts from think tanks, academic institutions and government advisors in an attempt to better understand governance and sustainable innovations in Germany – this blog is largely informed by these interviews. What has been revealed is that the Energiewende is both more complex but also simpler

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  • Lessons from America: Worrying analogies between the EMR process and the California Electricity Crisis 2001

    July 7, 2014

    Lessons from America: Worrying analogies between the EMR process and the California Electricity Crisis 2001

    Worrying analogies between the EMR process and the California Electricity Crisis 2001 Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 7th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell The energy challenges (1) facing the State of California in winter 2000 and spring 2001 dominated the news: brownouts, rolling blackouts, uncertain supply, concerns about the State’s economy, Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) bankruptcy, Southern California Edison (SCE) near bankruptcy. By summer 2001, the situation improved and the State turned its attention to working out exactly what had happened and why, and what longer-term improvements needed to be put in place. But the damage

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  • Lessons from America: If only the GEMA was more like a US Public Utility Commission

    July 4, 2014

    Lessons from America: If only the GEMA was more like a US Public Utility Commission

    Lessons from America: If only the GEMA was more like a US Public Utility Commission Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 4th July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell   The outcomes wanted from energy systems tends to be similar around the world: an efficient and secure service, with fair prices, and some protection for customers. However, the structure and regulation of those energy system varies considerably. The US model of regulation revolves around some form of State Regulatory Commission, generally either a Public Utility Commission (PUC) or a Public Services Commission (PSC), although there are other nomenclatures. These PUC/PSCs

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