Primer – the UK Capacity Market

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Primer – the UK Capacity Market

IGov Primer – The UK Capacity Market



IGov has consistently questioned the need for a Capacity Market in the UK low carbon transition, as well as the process by which it developed. It is a clear demonstration of how governance of the UK energy system can act to impede change in the direction of a more sustainable system. This Primer summarises the research and thinking we have produced on the Capacity Market.

For an overview of the issues we see with the Capacity Market read the opinion piece on Britain’s dinosaur capacity market will worsen energy ‘trilemma’. For a basic introduction into the how the capacity market came to be, the process by which it developed and the problems that arose, read the 2018 blog The Capacity Market – How did we get here? For a much more detailed overview of what a Capacity Market is, what the alternatives are, as well as the process by which it was developed and influenced in the UK read the working paper – The development of the Capacity Market for electricity in Great Britain. Some of key findings from this are summarised in the 2019 open access academic paper on regime resistance.





  • Jan (blog) The Capacity Market – How did we get here? Provides an overall story for how the capacity market developed, what key decisions were taken and to what end. It also highlights the need for a better overall governance framework







  • Dec (blog) Sugar Plum Fairies provides a headline summary of the first auction, the implication of the results for bill payers and how this compares with the approach take in the US for demand side response markets
  • Dec (Opinion Piece) Britain’s dinosaur capacity market will worsen energy ‘trilemma’ questions the basis of need for the Capacity Market with examples of how other countries have embraced the demand side, instead of supporting generation
  • Oct (blog) Capacity market and DSR – the thin purple line discusses the results of what capacity pre-qualified for the Capacity Market. Showing which type of generators looked to have done well (largely fossil fuels) and how little demand side response got through
  • Aug (blog) Capacity market details and demand side response as part of a series looking at insights from the US, this blog contrasts the approach taken there with what GB developed. It highlights what a poor example of energy policy decision making the Capacity Market is.


You can download this primer here: Primer – Capacity Market

Last Updated: November 2019

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