Last week I spoke at Smartest Energy’s Annual General Meeting about Electricity Market Reform. As I remarked at the conference, the most striking thing now about Electricity Market Reform is that there is no ‘market reform’ as such on offer in the proposals going forward to legislation this year. The one thing that really does need reform if it is to deal effectively with transparency and the challenge of low carbon electricity market requirements is the BETTA/NETA electricity trading system, which remains untouched. Meanwhile a number of busy reforms swirl into place around this central non-development, with varying degrees of relevance attached to them. What they do above all alse, is to overcomplicate the whole market landscape in a way that is not only largely unnecessary but may actually harm the ability of the market to assist with the delivery of secure low carbon supply.
I’m reminded more than a little of the history of the Phillips Musicassette, now sadly demised as a vehicle for carrying music. The central fact about that was that it was never designed to carry music: it was supposed to service dictation for approximately fifteen minutes. In order to make ity possible to take music Phillips (and others) crammed all sorts of technology (such as Dolby sound into it) and it sort of served a purpose for some time. Eventually its inherent contradictions and limitations as a format overcame it and it died, But meanwhile several more promising formats had been suppressed or got lost on the way. For audiocassettes read BETTA: for dolby sound read Contracts for Difference, Energy Performance Standards etc. It’s a cautionary tale!
I’ll post my full speech to the SE conference when it goes up on their website later this week. In the meantime, here are the slides from my speech, plus an interview I gave at the conference about EMR and some clips of what I said.