Extra pages

History of gas and electricity networks

History of electricity system Initially, electricity networks were developed independently in towns and cities, sometimes by the local government, sometimes by enterprising wealthy individuals, and so were a mixture of private and publicly owned local systems. These were electrically separate.  In some cases this provided a substantial income to local governments. From 1926 to 1933, the CONTINUE READING

Levelized Costs and Net Present Value

Economic forecasts used by government estimate the costs and benefits over the lifetime of a project, and usually involve hidden assumptions about the value of costs and benefits in the future relative to the costs and benefits in the present. The basic assumption is that we would rather pay more for something in the future, CONTINUE READING

Energy System Roles

There are a number of different energy system roles in the electricity and gas systems. These roles are addressed in detail in the chapters on ownership, money flows and governance and decision-making. They are described here to give an overview and definition. Electricity Generation This is the generation of electricity from primary energy e.g. coal, CONTINUE READING

A note of caution on energy efficiency

A note on efficiency Energy Efficiency is often promoted as the solution to all of our problems. However, it is worth thinking about a bit more carefully, as this is not always the panacea it seems to be. Efficiency is a ratio. That means it is a comparison of how much you get of something desirable CONTINUE READING

Energy demand and energy use

Discussions of energy typically use the word ‘demand’ to refer to the energy that is consumed. This fits with economic framings of ‘demand and supply’, and the way that the energy system is structured to allow unlimited demands for energy from users. This guide does not assume in advance what form of distribution would be CONTINUE READING


In 2017, 41% of UK energy demand and 37% of UK GHG emissions were from transport. The Zero Carbon Britain report by the Centre for Alternative Technology makes a proposal for shifting transport away from cars and onto busses, bicycles and motorbikes, and significantly reducing distances travelled. This is shown in the diagrams below. Transport CONTINUE READING

Energy Democracy

Energy Democracy What is energy democracy?  Broadly, energy democracy means that ‘the people’ have power over how our energy system works.  This includes users of energy and people working in the energy industry. The term energy democracy is being used by many different groups, including climate campaigners, community energy activists and trade unions. Energy democracy CONTINUE READING