Why we shouldn’t be ignoring the French nuclear problem

When the UK government gave the final approval for Hinkley Point C in September this year, people could have been forgiven for thinking that a new generation of nuclear reactors was a done deal for the UK. The decision having been made, everyone now seems content to sit and wait for EDF to complete construction…

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Policy and financial innovation as important as new technologies in the energy transition

Energy policy is frequently described in terms of the “trilemma”: decarbonisation, security of supply and affordability. Delivering this three-pointed objective requires a three-pointed approach: technological, policy and financial innovation. None of these in isolation can deliver the energy policy objectives.   Technological innovation delivers new possibilities for the energy system The impact of technological innovation…

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Do we need an independent system operator?

Calls are growing for the UK electricity system to be managed by an independent system operator (“ISO”) whose activities are separate from the ownership of the wires themselves. Such a change would require nationalisation of the system operation activities of National Grid, and the creation of a new regulatory framework for the electricity system. This would…

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Subsidies central: electricity markets need fundamental reform to remove distortions

Subsidies and extra-market support now underpin every part of the UK electricity market, and as a result, some technologies benefit from double payments and others double charging, and since the double payments are going to diesel generators and the double charging to battery storage, the system is creating perverse incentives that conflict with core government policy. Attention…

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Energy market innovation: timing is everything

The past few days have seen Tempus Energy surrendering its supply licence in order to focus purely on wholesale market trading, and Tidal Energy, the Welsh tidal stream technology company go into administration. Analysis by the Financial Times indicates that even in mature segments of the energy sector, in particular end-user supply, new entrants struggle…

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Solar + Storage: the other side of the story

In this second post on the viability of solar + storage (first post here) I examine the conclusions of the Aurora Energy report, which presents a rather more optimistic view of the prospects of the combined technologies, claiming that the cost of backing up solar generation and integrating it into the energy system was negligible,…

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Shining a light on solar + storage

Solar + storage, the combination of solar power and electricity storage, is seen by many as the Holy Grail of the energy markets and the key to a secure, low carbon future. However two recent reports provide conflicting views on whether this is a realistic prospect or simply another myth. In its analysis, the Adam Smith Institute…

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Decarbonising with hydrogen: more hot air?

Hydrogen gas has been mooted as a possible solution to the challenge of decarbonising heating, one of the major sources along with electricity generation and transport, of carbon emissions. Notably, the city of Leeds in the UK is investigating converting its entire gas network from natural gas (which is mostly methane) to hydrogen. The question is…

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