CMA appeal rulings show regulation of electricity market is changing for the better

Professor Phil Taylor, Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Sustainability, considers the impact of the recent ruling by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the Northern Powergrid appeal against Ofgem’s 2015-2023 electricity distribution price control. 

A new era of regulation has dawned in the energy market, following the recent CMA ruling on appeals against Ofgem’s recent price controls. The Northern Powergrid appeal is the first time a distribution network operator has appealed a judgement by Ofgem, and the CMA ruling is hugely significant. From now on, network operators and suppliers will feel more able to challenge the regulator to justify its decisions and demonstrate a strong evidence base for the approach it takes.

What is more, the judgement also demonstrates the need for a technically competent regulator. The ground for complaint that was upheld by the CMA, relates to Ofgem’s calculations of the potential savings available to Northern Powergrid and other distribution network operators through the use of smart grids and other technological innovations. At present, this remains something that is not well understood outside academia.

Continue reading

Sir Joseph Swan: A Pioneer Ahead of His Time

Tuesday 27 May 2014 marks the centenary of Sir Joseph Swan’s death. The inventor, pioneer and scientist was an icon of the North East, and his outstanding contribution to modern technology is still relevant today.

To celebrate the occasion, a special exhibition, ‘Sir Joseph Wilson Swan: a shining light of his time’, organised jointly between Newcastle University and the National Trust, on Swan’s life and legacy will open at Cragside House and Gardens and will run until  2 November.

Continue reading

Sustainable Retrofitting – the Passivhaus way (Part 2)

Dr Jennifer Hazelton, a Research Co-ordinator in Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) at Newcastle University, recently stayed in a Passivhaus bed and breakfast. In the second post of a two part series, she speaks to the owners, Adam Dadeby and Erica Aslett, about their experience of the renovation process.

Continue reading

Sustainable Retrofitting – the Passivhaus way (Part 1)

Dr Jennifer Hazelton, a Research Co-ordinator in Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) at Newcastle University, recently stayed in a Passivhaus bed and breakfast. In the first post of a two part series, she speaks to the owners, Adam Dadeby and Erica Aslett, about their experience of the renovation process.

Continue reading

Hydrogen Hypothesis: Edinburgh running on H2!

Luke Watkins is in the final year of his PhD in the School of Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials at Newcastle University. He was funded by NIReS to attend the 2013 Hypothesis Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Conference in Edinburgh in July 2013. In this final instalment of four posts, Luke discusses the potential for hydrogen as a bridge between renewable energy and sustainable transport and concludes with his reflections of the conference experience.

Continue reading