UK energy experts: One system architect to rule them all, one system architect to bind them.
Experts: One system architect to rule them all, one system architect to bind them.

The UK needs a single body to plan and optimise the overall energy system and it needs to stop trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to smart grids, according to engineers, technology companies and academics.

Giving evidence to the energy and climate change committee on smarter grids and low carbon power networks, the panel of experts added their voices to the growing call for an independent system architect.

The impact of intermittent renewables and distributed generation is creating conflict between local grid operators and National Grid, according to the panel. Distribution companies (DNOs) are also hamstrung by the commercial and regulatory barriers which, for example, stop them owning and operating energy storage assets and fail to sufficiently incentivise them to implement smarter technologies. DNO’s eight-year price controls focus too heavily on old world outputs – and lock the UK into a slow moving energy transition, MPs were told.

The energy and climate change committee heard evidence this morning from Dr Jill Cainey, director, Electricity Storage Network, Dr Philipp Grunewald, research fellow, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, on behalf of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Dr Gordon Edge, director, policy-economics and regulation, RenewableUK, Stephen Goldspink, director, strategy and business development, Siemens Energy Management, and Sara Bell, chief executive, Tempus Energy.

Watch the session here.

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  1. “focus too heavily on old world outputs – and lock the UK into a slow moving energy transition”

    That is no doubt bad for business, but is surely good for consumers, given the absence of a system architect and any number of new technologies trying to shoe-horn themselves into an uncontrolled architecture. If it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it.


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