Energy Seminar – Week 4: The Power of Flexibility

Tom Luff, Senior Advisor, Energy Systems Catapult

Tom Luff, Energy Systems Catapult

Summary: The UK has made great progress in ramping up renewable electricity generation over the past decade. Driven by strong policy tools – such as the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme – we are now a global leader in offshore wind build and have rapidly scaled up the deployment of other technologies such as solar.

However, to meet our goals of having a net zero electricity system by 2035 to power a new zero economy by 2050, we face the pressing challenge of effectively integrating renewable power into the grid. To make good use of these intermittent sources of power, we need new sources of system flexibility – such as storage and demand side response. Greater flexibility across the power system is crucial for using our low carbon energy assets efficiently and for reducing costs.

The government’s Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) consultation makes clear that “current arrangements will not deliver a fully decarbonised power system by 2035, as renewables alone will not be enough to meet our 2035 targets, and the Capacity Market is unlikely to bring forward low carbon flexibility at the pace required”. The view that current market arrangements are not fit for purpose for delivering our 2035 objectives was shared by the majority of respondents to the consultation.

Tom’s presentation will run through the latest thinking by the Energy Systems Catapult in this area. He will describe the current challenges and urgent need for reform, as well as potential options for overcoming these challenges and delivering an efficient net zero power system. Topics will include pathways to greater power system flexibility, the importance of data and digitalisation enablers, locational pricing and outcome-based policy solutions to reduce carbon intensity.

Read more Energy Systems Catapult’s “Rethinking Electricity Markets” work here.

Speaker: Tom Luff is a senior advisor at the Energy Systems Catapult focusing on electricity markets, policy and regulation. Tom’s work spans all areas of the power system, including wholesale and retail market reform.

An energy strategy and policy expert, Tom has led teams in government to reform various aspects of policy, including electricity network policy at the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), financial incentives for renewable electricity at the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and energy security at the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.

As Energy and Infrastructure Counsellor at the UK Embassy in Tokyo, Tom facilitated investments into the UK and helped UK energy businesses export to Japan.

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