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UK Electricity Market Reform and the Energy Transition: Emerging Lessons

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  • Michael Grubb and David Newbery

Abstract

The 2013 Electricity Market Reform (EMR) was a response to the twin problems of securing efficient finance for a new generation of low carbon investments, and delivering reliability along with a growing share of renewables in its energy-only market. Four EMR instruments combined to revolutionize the sector; stimulating unprecedented technological and structural change. Competitive auctions for both firm capacity and renewable energy have seen prices far lower than predicted and the entry of unexpected new technologies. A carbon price floor displaced coal, whose share fell from 46% in 1995 to 7% in 2017, halving CO2. Renewables grew from under 4% in 2008 to 22% by 2017, projected at 30+% by 2020 despite a political ban on onshore wind. Neither the technological nor regulatory transitions are complete, and the results to date highlight other challenges, notably to transmission pricing and locational signals. EMR is a step forwards, not backwards; but it is not the end of the story.

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  • Michael Grubb and David Newbery, 2018. "UK Electricity Market Reform and the Energy Transition: Emerging Lessons," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:ej39-6-newbery
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Newbery, David M., 1998. "The regulator's review of the English Electricity Pool," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 129-141, November.
    2. Tashpulatov, Sherzod N., 2015. "Analysis of electricity industry liberalization in Great Britain: How did the bidding behavior of electricity producers change?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 24-34.
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    Cited by:

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    3. Philip Mayer & Christopher Stephen Ball & Stefan Vögele & Wilhelm Kuckshinrichs & Dirk Rübbelke, 2019. "Analyzing Brexit: Implications for the Electricity System of Great Britain," Energies, MDPI, vol. 12(17), pages 1-27, August.
    4. Newbery, David & Gissey, Giorgio Castagneto & Guo, Bowei & Dodds, Paul E., 2019. "The private and social value of British electrical interconnectors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    5. Paul Simshauser, 2020. "Merchant utilities and boundaries of the firm: vertical integration in energy-only markets," Working Papers EPRG2008, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    6. Gencer, Busra & Larsen, Erik Reimer & van Ackere, Ann, 2020. "Understanding the coevolution of electricity markets and regulation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    7. Simshauser, Paul, 2019. "Missing money, missing policy and Resource Adequacy in Australia's National Electricity Market," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-1.
    8. Simshauser, Paul, 2020. "Merchant renewables and the valuation of peaking plant in energy-only markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    9. Farrell, Niall, 2021. "The increasing cost of ignoring Coase: Inefficient electricity tariffs, welfare loss and welfare-reducing technological change," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    10. Paul Simshauser, 2019. "On the Stability of Energy-Only Markets with Government-Initiated Contracts-for-Differences," Energies, MDPI, vol. 12(13), pages 1-24, July.
    11. Facchini, Angelo & Rubino, Alessandro & Caldarelli, Guido & Di Liddo, Giuseppe, 2019. "Changes to Gate Closure and its impact on wholesale electricity prices: The case of the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 110-121.
    12. Defeuilley, Christophe, 2019. "Energy transition and the future(s) of the electricity sector," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 97-105.
    13. Paul Simshauser & Joel Gilmore, 2020. "Is the NEM broken? Policy discontinuity and the 2017-2020 investment megacycle," Working Papers EPRG2014, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    14. Fuentes González, Fabián & Webb, Janette & Sharmina, Maria & Hannon, Matthew & Pappas, Dimitrios & Tingey, Margaret, 2021. "Characterising a local energy business sector in the United Kingdom: Participants, revenue sources, and estimates of localism and smartness," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 223(C).
    15. André Quites Ordovás Santos & Adriel Rodrigues da Silva & Jorge Javier Gimenez Ledesma & Adriano Batista de Almeida & Marco Roberto Cavallari & Oswaldo Hideo Ando Junior, 2021. "Electricity Market in Brazil: A Critical Review on the Ongoing Reform," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(10), pages 1-23, May.
    16. Barazza, Elsa & Strachan, Neil, 2020. "The impact of heterogeneous market players with bounded-rationality on the electricity sector low-carbon transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    17. Finn Roar Aune & Rolf Golombek, 2020. "Are carbon prices redundant in the 2030 EU climate and energy policy package?," Discussion Papers 940, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    18. David Newbery, 2020. "Club goods and a tragedy of the commons: the Clean Energy Package and wind curtailment," Working Papers EPRG2036, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

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