Informing the debate on Britain’s electricity system

Challenge

The electricity sector is currently undergoing unprecedented changes, including obligations to decarbonise and pressure to keep bills down. With old coal being driven off the system, new nuclear given the go-ahead, prices reaching new highs and lows, and clean energy overtaking fossil fuels for the first time, there is an increasing need for a strong evidence base and robust analysis.

Solution

Imperial researchers, including Drs Iain Staffell and Rob Gross (Centre for Environmental Policy) and Professors Richard Green (Imperial Business School) and Tim Green (Director of the Energy Futures Lab), are providing new empirical evidence to contribute to the UK energy debate. Commissioned by Drax Group, operator of the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby in North Yorkshire, which now predominantly uses sustainable biomass to generate 17% of the UK’s renewable electricity, the Imperial team is using its combined analytical expertise to power www.electricinsights.co.uk, an interactive website and quarterly report.

Electric Insights brings to life the wealth of raw data made publicly available by National Grid and Elexon, which run the electricity network and balancing market respectively. Using information gathered from 2009 to present day, it focuses on supply and demand, prices, emissions, the performance of the various generation technologies and the network that connects them. The website and reports are regularly referred to in the press and shed an informative light on the sources and implications of Britain’s electricity supply for both government and the industry.

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