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Extending the life of ageing nuclear reactors could help bridge the energy gap

June 6th, 2014 by William Nuttall, Professor at Open University

Changing the rules by which nuclear power stations are judged to be safe or not may sound unpalatable to some, even outright dangerous. But this is what the Office of Nuclear Regulation is considering in order to extend the life of Britain’s ageing reactor fleet. Rest assured, however, such things are done carefully. Continue reading »

Money for Nothing

May 14th, 2014 by Severin Borenstein, Haas Business School, UC Berkekey

Since the beginning of electricity grids, demand has fluctuated and supply has been made to follow along. But for decades, economists and some grid engineers have dreamed of having demand play a more active role in balancing the system. With increasing use of intermittent renewable energy resources, now is the time to make that demand-response dream come true. But we can only get there if we clear up a common misconception in the world of electricity policy.
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European Electricity Prices Rising

April 23rd, 2014 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

“European consumers’ electricity and gas prices have risen and are still rising,” is a good summary of a recent report, Energy Costs & Prices in Europe, released by the European Commission in Brussels. Moreover, whilst almost all Member States have seen a consistent rise in consumer prices of electricity and gas, the differences between national prices remain large: consumers in the highest priced Member States are paying 2.5 to 4 times as much as those in the lowest priced Member States.

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Harmonizing electricity TSO regulation: the case of North-West EU

February 16th, 2014 by Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute

The study of five EU regulatory regimes for electricity TSOs (Belgium, Germany, Great-Britain, France and the Netherlands) suggests that their designs encompass strong tensions and trade-offs and that they are significantly heterogeneous. However, this heterogeneity should no longer be valid, as the European Union is pushing more than ever to prompt for wider integration and increasing interactions between power networks and power systems. In any regional EU market, the economic properties of national regulatory regimes must consequently be realigned and harmonized as to deliver more EU common good. Continue reading »

Does Europe need a renewables target? – yes, but it should be defined in terms of innovation

February 8th, 2014 by Georg Zachmann, Research Fellow, Bruegel

The discussion on whether the EU needs a new renewables target beyond 2020 is gaining traction. The proponents argue that a target for 2030 would give the visibility needed for long-term investments all along the value chain (e.g. into network and storage infrastructure). That is, without a firm political timetable for the roll-out of renewables, the cost of deployment might be much higher. The opponents of firm deployment targets argue that having such targets under an emission trading system is overly costly (e.g., Robert Stavins) and that artificially high demand is creating excess rents in those parts of the value chain where supply is slow to react.
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European power utilities: under pressure?

January 22nd, 2014 by Koen Groot, Clingendael International Energy Programme

The European power sector is challenged by a series of developments. These range from planned changes to the institutional environment and the functioning of the market, to unforeseen external shocks like the decline of demand as a result of the economic and financial crisis and the German decision to completely phase out nuclear energy after all. The challenges also include the unexpected results of foreseeable developments, such as the impact of renewable energy sources (RES) on business models terms of profit margins and system requirements.
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The French Disconnection: reducing the nuclear share in France’s Energy Mix

January 15th, 2014 by David Buchan, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

France has entered into a national debate about its energy transition to meet its long range target to reduce CO2 emissions by 75 per cent by 2050, while maintaining security of supply and the competitiveness of French industry. It is a muddled debate, because the trigger for it is an electoral commitment by President François Hollande to reduce the nuclear share in the country’s electricity mix from over 70 per cent today to around 50 per cent by 2025, a commitment that few people in France – and maybe not even the president himself – regard as sensible or feasible to carry out to the letter. Indeed the origin of the commitment is almost an accident of electoral politics. And the national debate has done little to clarify the issue. Continue reading »

Making the internal electricity market work

December 20th, 2013 by Martin Godfried, University of Amsterdam

At first glance, the integration of the internal electricity market seems to be on track. However, when taking a closer look it is clear that without an extra effort, much of the work done over the last decade may be at risk.
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A Proposal for Reforming an Electricity Market for a Low-Carbon Economy

November 8th, 2013 by Raphael Heffron, University of Stirling

The UK is currently reforming its electricity sector. This gives rise to some pertinent questions: Do the reforms go far enough and can more reforms be expected in the near future?

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How Much Should Self-Generators Pay For The Grid?

November 1st, 2013 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

That is among the questions being asked not just in the US but nearly in any country where self-generation, in one form or another, already is or is likely to become cost-effective. It is also a key question in the context of the net energy metering (NEM) debate in the US or generous feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) that are being scaled back in the EU and Australia.

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