The UK Government has set itself the challenge of finding ways to reduce the costs of delivering a secure decarbonised power system. It is also determined to deliver an energy infrastructure that it fit for the future and has established an independent commission to provide advice on what might be required.
Over recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence pointing to the vast savings that can be made by adopting a more strategic approach to transmission network planning and, in particular, integrating the GB power system with those in neighbouring countries. This paper by Trilemma UK Ltd and Imperial College provides a summary of the key analytical conclusions of this work and makes recommendations for the policy steps that will be necessary to realise the benefits.
There are very technical aspects to this issue and a number of changes will be required to the market and regulatory framework. However, such changes will, by themselves, be insufficient without strong political action to build the necessary partnerships with neighbouring governments. Moreover, a new institution is need at the heart of the energy system – an independent system operator – that is responsible for coordinating network development requirements and evaluating the implications and opportunities of market integration.