What does the energy transition mean for policy makers?

Why flexibility is the essential cornerstone of a low carbon energy system

While the energy transition is inevitable as it is driven by economics, its cost is not. According to BloombergNEF (BNEF), the transition will be faster and less costly if flexible technologies and energy markets become the cornerstone of the grid. That is because both wind and solar power add to variability in supply and mass EV charging will add greatly to variability in demand. To avoid the need for costly grid upgrades and back-up generation, the system must become more flexible to smooth resulting peaks and troughs in demand and supply.

The series of articles below explores the current regulatory barriers to a more flexible electricity system and the steps needed to ease the transition to a low carbon economy. Today, grid regulation in most European countries is designed for a centralised electricity generation model. The articles describe how regulators, policymakers and industry are responding today to the challenges of the energy transition. They also include recommendations on the regulatory and market design changes needed to unlock private investment in the technologies required for a more flexible energy system.

The primary focus of the articles are the UK and German markets but with additional case studies and commentary from several other North European markets including Norway, the Netherlands and France.

The final article concludes with a summary of our core regulatory asks that, if addressed, will help unlock the private investment needed in the technologies that are ready now to develop the flexibility needed to ease the transition to a high renewable and clean energy future.

The development of the articles was initiated and developed by Eaton and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) with cross industry contributions including market data, insight and case studies.

The article series:

Article 1:

The political and economic forces driving the energy transition and requirement for flexibility

Article 2:

Gap analysis - a summary of current versus ideal future state grid regulation

Article 3:

Challenges and opportunities posed by regulatory change: a spotlight on the UK

Article 4:

Concluding remarks - our key regulatory asks