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.

  • New Thinking: The Solution to South Australia’s blackouts – a market which rewards DER

    April 20, 2017

    New Thinking: The Solution to South Australia’s blackouts – a market which rewards DER

    The Solution to South Australia’s blackouts: a market which rewards DER On the 28th September 2016 storms in northern South Australia, including tornados with wind speeds in the range of 190-260 km/h caused a state-wide blackout.  The update report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and also a recent review by the Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel have recommended that value services for Frequency Controlled Ancillary Service (FCAS) and System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS) from distributed energy and other storage technologies should be investigated. In addition, on February 8th 2017, a heatwave with temperatures of

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  • Institutional governance reform – the essential ingredient for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system

    April 4, 2017

    Institutional governance reform – the essential ingredient for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system

    Institutional governance reform – the essential ingredient for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 4th April 2017 This is a re-blog of a Blog by Catherine Mitchell which originally appeared in the 3 April 2017 issue of Utility Week: Institutional governance reform – the essential ingredient for a sustainable, secure and affordable energy system. GB currently has an energy governance framework  – meaning policies, institutions, rules and incentives of markets and networks – which is not fit-for-the-purpose of transforming the current centralised, carbonised energy system into a decarbonised, flexible and secure

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  • New Thinking: Reset the reset (3) – DER Walking the Walk

    March 16, 2017

    New Thinking: Reset the reset (3) – DER Walking the Walk

    Reset the reset (3) – Walking the Walk: we need to agree a DER assessment process and a methodology to value DER which fits with a smart and flexible energy system Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 16th March 2017 IGov is arguing that the Government/BEIS should initiate a process to develop a fit-for-purpose GB energy governance framework – analogous to (but not necessarily the same as) the IGov Fit-for-Purpose GB Energy Governance Framework. Other jurisdictions around the world are already well into the process of creating a smart and flexible energy system, inter alia here. The

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  • New Thinking: Reset the reset (2) – Aligning Content with Intent

    March 15, 2017

    New Thinking: Reset the reset (2) – Aligning Content with Intent

    Reset the reset (2) – Aligning Content with Intent: BEIS and the Regulator have to sort out their relationship and roles Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 15th March 2017 GB has a stated intent of moving to an energy system capable of delivering a cost-effective decarbonised energy system by 2050 – thereby meeting the Committee on Climate Change’s 2050 carbon budgets. Sadly, the content of our energy policy (EP) does not deliver its good intention. As a recent IGov blog stated, GB may be talking the talk, but we are not walking the walk. Even worse,

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  • New Thinking: Reset the reset (1) – we need institutional governance reform, and we need it now

    March 14, 2017

    New Thinking: Reset the reset (1) – we need institutional governance reform, and we need it now

    Reset the reset (1) – we need institutional governance reform, and we need it now Catherine Mitchell, IGov Team, 14th March 2017 GB energy policy is dissolving into a muddled, mire of siloed, non-joined-up policy statements and calls for evidence. GB has to decide on the necessary institutional arrangements to deliver its GHG reduction targets, cost-effective, smart, flexible, secure energy system before it makes even more costly and time-consuming mistakes. We do not want to halt (or hinder) progress towards a sustainable energy system by undertaking a big review of GB energy policy, but we

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  • New Thinking: The Embedded Generator Saga and Codes Governance

    March 13, 2017

    New Thinking: The Embedded Generator Saga and Codes Governance

    Transformation is about walking the walk, not just talking the talk – the embedded generator saga and codes governance Matthew Lockwood, IGov Team, 13th March 2017 A major row has blown up over the apparently obscure issue of ‘embedded benefits’. These are payments that are made to electricity generators attached to the distribution network, as opposed to the higher voltage transmission network, so called because these generators are ‘embedded’ further down the system closer to sources of electricity demand. They are also sometimes called distributed generators. Technically, embedded benefits are based on the contribution made

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  • 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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