Everyone wants smart power, but where’s the market?

This debate on 13 October brought together an expert panel to discuss the future of the UK power system and how to ensure greater investment in flexible energy technologies.


  1. Our panellists were Phil Graham, chief executive of the National Infrastructure Commission; Dr Matthew Lockwood, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter; Rachel Stanley, flexibility expert; and Asheya Patten, flexibility lead at National Grid. The debate was chaired by Dustin Benton, acting deputy director at Green Alliance.
  2. Amy Mount, head of the Greener UK Unit and senior energy policy adviser at Green Alliance, opened the event with an overview of our latest analysis, Smart investment: valuing flexibility in UK electricity market.
  3. Phil Graham began the panel debate by providing an overview of the National Infrastructure Commission and its work, in particular the recent report Smart Power. He argued that continuing to build purely generating capacity is a bad idea, and that the market is not currently equipped to deliver smart energy effectively.
  4. Dr Matthew Lockwood argued that the current market is not designed for this level of flexibility, but that new sources of flexibility will create 'winners' and 'losers'. He suggested that a governance body is required to coordinate and lead the design of a new market.
  5. The chair, Dustin Benton asked whether there are any countries that the UK could learn from or, as it was a new agenda for most countries, it could be an opportunity for British leadership?
  6. Rachel Stanley shared her experience of working with new businesses who are developing new flexibility solutions, and the historic evidence of the potential of innovation to transform the system.