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.

  • 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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  • Lessons from America: New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision

    July 2, 2014

    Lessons from America: New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision

    Lessons from America – New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 2nd July, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell Those of us in Europe who would like progressive energy policies in our own countries tend to look to Germany and Denmark as the examples we should follow. However, New York State is trying to transform its energy system and judging from its Department of Public Service Staff Report, we in Europe should start to take note.  New York State and its Public Service Commission (PSC) sets out its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), which

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  • Lessons from America: Can the very different US Regulatory System Provide Insights for Energy Regulation in Britain/Europe?

    June 30, 2014

    Lessons from America: Can the very different US Regulatory System Provide Insights for Energy Regulation in Britain/Europe?

    Lessons from America: Can the very different US Regulatory System Provide Insights for Energy Regulation in Britain/Europe? Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 30th June, 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,

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  • New Thinking Blog: In Matters Of Climate Change, The Environmental Requirement Must Take Precedent Over Short Term Economic Goals

    May 30, 2014

    New Thinking Blog: In Matters Of Climate Change, The Environmental Requirement Must Take Precedent Over Short Term Economic Goals

    In Matters Of Climate Change, The Environmental Requirement Must Take Precedent Over Short Term Economic Goals Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 30th May, 2014 About Catherine: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Catherine_Mitchell The Universities of Exeter and Leeds and the Met Office held Transformational Science: the future of climate change research following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Reports (AR5) on 15-16 May 2014.  The results of all three Working Group reports were discussed: WG1, the science report, came out in September 2013; the Report on Adaptation  in March 2014;  and the Mitigation Report in April 2014. As Thomas

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  • New Thinking Blog: The Belly Of A (System) Architect

    May 27, 2014

    New Thinking Blog: The Belly Of A (System) Architect

    The Belly Of A (System) Architect* Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 27 May 2014 About Matthew: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Matthew_Lockwood Twitter: https://twitter.com/climatepolitics Calls for some form of “system architect” for energy transitions, especially in electricity, are becoming more and more common. Recent examples come from Newcastle University, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and the Smart Grid Forum.  The Labour Party has also recently proposed a new Energy Strategy Board to guide investment in generation. This was also a common theme in a major conference on progressive energy governance held by the IGov team in London on Wednesday. There is clearly

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  • New Thinking Blog: Demand Side Response and Energy Supply (In)Security

    April 7, 2014

    New Thinking Blog: Demand Side Response and Energy Supply (In)Security

    Demand Side Response and Energy Supply (In)Security Caroline Kuzemko, IGov Team, 7th April, 2014 About Caroline: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Caroline_Kuzemko Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolineKuzemko Since the start of the latest Ukraine-Russia crisis the rhetoric of energy security has re-emerged as strongly as ever.  What seems most evident this time around is the degree to which energy companies are deploying the energy supply security card in order to appeal for more state and political support for new capacity.  The nuclear industry, never shy about letting a good energy crisis go to waste, has been active across Europe in using fear of Russia and

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