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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge

Thursday, 17 November, 2016 - 14:00 to 16:00
Event location: 
11/F Social Sciences Chamber, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Lessons from the British Isles for the integration of renewables into the electricity grid

Honorary Speaker:
Prof. David Newbery, CBE, FBA
Research Director, EPRG, University of Cambridge

Date: 17 November 2016 (Thur)
Seminar: 14:00 – 15:00 pm
Venue: 11/F Social Sciences Chamber, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Panel Discussion: 15:00 – 16:00 pm
Chair: Prof. Victor OK Li
Title: Integration of renewables to the grid in China: challenges and possible solutions


We are pleased to announce a seminar by Prof. David Newbery of the University of Cambridge, followed by a panel discussion to be held on November 17, 2016 (Thursday). You are cordially invited to attend.

Please register online at:

The registration quota for this event is 50. You will receive a confirmation upon successful registration.

For details of the seminar,  please visit the following link:

Should you have any enquiries, please contact Ms. Clara Chung by email at


The British Isles comprise the Great Britain (GB), Northern Ireland (NI), and the Republic of Ireland (IRL). NI and IRL have created a Single Electricity Market (SEM) - two jurisdictions and two currencies (£ and €) with central dispatch under a single System Operator. The SEM has one of the most ambitious programs to integrate high levels of renewable electricity supply (RES) into a small moderately isolated system and provides useful lessons on the need for new flexibility services. GB is on its third electricity market design since privatization and restructuring in 1989, and its third form of renewables support, providing useful lessons on support mechanisms and the problems they create for the grid. 
Initially RES support was auctioned to determine the fixed price per MWh, later replaced by tradeable Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) that augmented the wholesale price by a premium that depends on the supply and demand for ROCs. The 2013 Electricity Market Reform (EMR) will replace ROCs by Contracts for Difference payments, initially at strike prices set by bureaucrats, then auctioned at much lower prices, then suspended as the support funds ran out as fuel prices dropped. 
GB wind location decisions are guided by zonal annual transmission use of system charges that are higher in the windy areas of Scotland, Developers initially required a connection agreement to build, but now the grid has an obligation to “connect and manage”. The current support system over-encourages inefficient distant location in windy areas. A better system would auction for the price needed per MWh up to a limited number of MWh/MW capacity (effectively a capacity payment with incentives for delivery), combined with locational (nodal) pricing and balancing responsibility (provided through aggregators).


Biography of the speaker:
Professor David Newbery, CBE, FBA, is the Research Director of the Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group and Emeritus Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Econometric Society. He was the 2013 President of the International Association for Energy Economics. Educated at Cambridge with degrees in Mathematics and Economics, he has managed research projects on utility privatisation and regulation, electricity restructuring and market design, transmission access pricing and has active research on market integration, transmission planning and finance, climate change policies, and the design of energy policy and energy taxation. Occasional economic advisor to Ofgem, Ofwat, and ORR, former member of the Competition Commission and chairman of the Dutch Electricity Market Surveillance Committee, he is currently an independent member of the Single Electricity Market Committee of the island of Ireland, a panel member of Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition and a member of the Panel of Technical Experts offering quality assurance to DECC on the delivery of the UK’s Electricity Market. He is the author of Privatization, Restructuring and Regulation of Network Utilities, MIT Press, 2000.

Contact name: 
Ms. Clara Chung
Contact email: