Electricity Market Reform: so what’s new?

David Baker and David Toke
Keith Baker and David Toke

by Keith Baker and David Toke

In 2013, Britain’s electricity markets were reorganized through Electricity Market Reform (EMR). The programme of EMR sought to prioritise the public goods of energy security and climate change mitigation. This marked a shift away from free markets towards a greater role for state direction in the energy market.

In our Policy & Politics article entitled Electricity Market Reform: so what’s new? we use grid group cultural theory to explain changes in the regulatory regime under EMR. Cultural theory claims that regulatory actions result from more cultural biases: individualism, hierarchy, egalitarianism and fatalism. Individualists privilege free markets, hierarchs privilege expert and government authority, egalitarians emphasise equity, the environment and community lead decision-making and fatalists are resigned to carious fate. We claim that EMR represents an incomplete shift from ‘individualist’ to ‘hierarchical’ approaches to the regulation of the British energy market.

We argue that conflicts between the different frames explain the institutional design of EMR. Whilst the egalitarian bias is implicit in the drive for decarbonisation and support for renewables, a hierarchical bias and panic Continue reading

Profound policy change as messy, complex and multi-directional: UK Energy Policy in Transition

Caroline Kuzemko
Caroline Kuzemko

Caroline Kuzemko, from the University of Exeter, discusses her article Measuring and explaining policy paradigm change: the case of UK energy policy written with Florian Kern and Catherine Mitchell, which is published in the latest edition of Policy & Politics.

Across the social sciences a great many scholars are engaged in trying to understand policy and institutional change – not least within political science. One reason for mounting interest in change has been the growing awareness of anthropogenic climate change, of continued growth in global emissions and of what kinds of (varied) implications this might have for societies around the world.  Energy has received a great deal of attention, not least because current (fossil fuel) systems are responsible for high percentages of emissions Continue reading