Energy buyers face 'rocky road' in changing marketplace

12 September 2013

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13 September 2013 | Will Green

An academic has warned energy buyers their role will change and they will need to develop new skills as carbon-based fuels are stripped from the electricity sector.

David Robinson, senior research fellow at The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told a conference the process of decarbonisation and the growth of renewable energy sources created the potential for a “rocky road” as relationships with traditional suppliers changed.

He said the UK government would encourage firms and organisations to generate their own wind and solar energy – what he called demand-side resources (DSR) – which could be used to power “micro grids” around hospitals, universities and industrial parks.

Robinson said DSR in the US was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“There is a significant opportunity in the UK for large customers to play a role in providing capacity in the system,” he told The Energy Event at Birmingham's NEC this week.

“The role of energy buyers and managers will grow. It will be important to develop new skills to carry out these new tasks. The road will be rocky from incumbent suppliers.”

He added: “This is a completely new industry.”

Robinson said demand reduction would also be a critical factor, claiming a 5 per cent reduction in peak demand for electricity would result in savings of around £2 billion.

The Energy Bill, which aims to decarbonise the electricity sector and reform the electricity market, is currently passing through parliament.

A feature in the September edition of Supply Business will examine procurement’s role in long term energy strategy.

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