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Professor David Newbery Describes a Regulatory Revolution

Professor David Newbery, founder and director of the Energy Policy Research Group at Cambridge Univeristy, has predicted a revolution in the way energy will have to be regulated. Speaking to Jean-Michel Glachant, Newbery discussed the rapid transition in between centralised planning and the new world of non-stop investment in renewables.

“It’s a revolution in the sense that the system of regulation,” he said, before explaining that “the thing that has revolutionised the electricity system is the speed with which things can change.”

Newbery argued that the sheer pace and intensity of private investment in alternative sources of energy would inevitably challenge policy makers to reinvent regulation. “It’s not so much a revolution of technology; these technologies have been around.”

The professor has a particular interest in how these projects will interact with national and international power infrastructure. “We have to think very carefully about what the principles are for connecting and charging for connecting to the system. And we have to get around the problem of regulatory stability by giving people longer term contracts when they connect which allow them to predict what their charges are.”

Listen to the full podcast here of the conversation between David Newbery and Jean-Michel Glachant.