A smarter grid: can real-time electricity tariffs reduce both CO2 and bills?

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 14.13.34Supplying electricity at a fixed price can have damaging consequences: there must be enough power to meet peak demand, typically early evenings on winter weekdays. Always meeting demand is made harder by weather-dependent intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar. During summer weekends, demand might even be less than the available low carbon, low running cost, generation.

Adopting a system that encourages shifting of demand could help to tackle this problem. The National Grid balances supply and demand using a spot market, with generators selling, and retail supply companies buying. Charging customers using a real-time retail tariff based on the market price, could incentivise users to avoid expensive times and move to cheap times, resulting in fewer gas plants and less need for distribution capacity.

In addition to saving money for consumers and capital spending, such a system could also make generation more tolerant of intermittent sources, allowing a greater contribution from renewables, and thus reducing carbon emissions.

In this fringe, co-hosted with the Green Liberal Democrats, we will discuss the potential economic and environmental benefits of moving towards real-time electricity tariffs.

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Fringe details

Saturday 14 March, 18.15–19.15
ACC room 14

Speakers

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 14.02.36Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

The Rt. Hon. Edward Davey MP has been Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Kingston and Surbiton for the past 18 years. He was appointed Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change in February 2012, which is his current role in Government. During his time at DECC he has overseen the introduction of the 2030 framework in Europe to reduce C02 emissions by 40%, has established under the 2013 Energy Act, the world’s first low-carbon electricity market and seen the capacity for wind power double under his tenure, amongst many other landmark successes.

Brendan Devlin, Energy Markets, European Commission

Brendan Devlin is an Advisor/Counsellor in the Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission. At present, his major work focuses on the development of the North Sea energy resources, the integration of renewables in the electricity market and the reconsideration of investment frameworks for electricity markets.

Until recently, he was heavily involved in developing Caspian energy links with the European Union. He guided the negotiation and signature of the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement of 13 July 2009 and worked on developing the EU Southern Gas Route. His work has encompassed developing the legal doctrines applicable to import pipelines to the EU.

Peter Smith, External Affairs Manager, National Energy Action

Peter has been at the national fuel poverty charity, NEA, since July 2010. Peter is responsible for NEA’s policy and campaign work for warmer homes and is also its lead media contact. Prior to joining NEA Peter played a leading role within the Combined Heat and Power industry and helped build awareness of the potential for community-led energy projects.

Dr Stewart Reddaway, Association of Lib Dem Engineers and Scientists

A member of both Aldes and the Green Liberal Democrats, Stewart holds a PhD in Physics and formerly worked in the computer industry designing massively parallel computers. Since he retired in 2008, he has focused on policies to reduce CO2 emissions. He recently authored a Briefing Note on real-time electricity tariffs for Aldes and is a regular contributor to Challenge, the GLD magazine, including one article also on this fringe’s topic.

simon oliver
Chair: Simon Oliver, Chair, Green Liberal Democrats

Simon Oliver is the Chair of the Green Libdems and has been chair of his local party as well as a target candidate at borough and county level. He works as a software quality and process analyst in the fresh food supply chain industry.