The Energy Policy Group (EPG) of the University of Exeter is very pleased to input to the BEIS / Ofgem Call for Evidence (CfE) on a Smart, Flexible Energy System. The EPG undertakes many research projects related to innovation and governance within energy systems to increase flexibility and smartness1. We have had one particular project called Innovation and Governance for a Secure and Sustainable Economy (IGov, 2012-2016). This has now been extended to become Innovation and Governance for Future Energy Systems (IGov2, 2016-2019). Much of our arguments below have come out of the IGov work. The CfE paper itself is thorough and its goals of delivering a smart, flexible energy system are welcome. We agree that technological change within energy systems around the world is happening very fast (for multiple reasons) and is opening up the possibilities of many new ways of operating energy systems and business models for the benefit of society and consumers. However, we argue that the institutional structure of the current GB energy system cannot enable an efficient transformation to a flexible, smart energy system as called for in the CfE. The GB institutional structure needs to move from its linear, top down supply format to one where any actor can buy and sell services of all sorts from any other actor, as shown in Figure 1. The reasons why this is necessary and suggestions for the necessary institutional change in GB to allow this to happen is set out in detail elsewhere2, and we precis those arguments briefly below.
IGov 19th Jan 2017 read more »