UCL Energy Institute


UCL Energy Institute Director speaks at All-Party Parliamentary Group

17 May 2023

UCL Energy Institute Director Prof Catalina Spataru was invited to speak at the Energy Costs APPG meeting on the ‘Power Up Britain’.

UK Hoses of Parliament

Prof Spataru was invited alongside Alice Barrs from RWE, Clive Moffatt from Moffatt Associates, Jeremy Nicholson from Alfa Energy.

The first point raised was about the need to restructure the wholesale electricity market and make it appropriate to the economics of renewable generation, by balancing costs appropriately and proportionately.

The second point Prof Spataru raised regarded ‘curtailment’, referring to the reduction of power production/consumption when there is either too much or not enough electricity in the grid. Millions are currently being spent on turning windfarms off and turning on gas power plants to replace the lost wind power, with a risk of costs rising each year if upgrades are not made. Prof Spataru outlined a range of possible options that could be implemented into medium/long term strategy. These include high voltage direct connections and energy storage. For short term strategies, demand reduction and flexibility was highlighted, as well as the importance of improving energy efficiency as an equal partner to supply.

Raising a third point, Prof Spataru explained:

We must consider the resilience and adaptation of green energy assets and infrastructure to ensure that they can withstand the impacts of climate change and continue to function effectively in the face of extreme weather events. These must be made clear in the British Energy Security Strategy, as reaching net zero emissions is an important goal, but not sufficient on its own.
Currently there is a clear need to better understand the long-term effects of natural hazards on infrastructure, on the cascading effects of natural hazards on interconnected systems of systems and interconnected world we live currently. Without this, there is a risk of making myopic decisions, leading to a costly and slow energy transition that won’t meet the net zero targets."