Renewable Energy Foundation

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REF calls for Transparency in the UK Electricity Market

At the launch of two new publications last night REF called for important reforms to the level of information data transparency in the UK electricity industry.

(Details are provided in the full leaflet, a pdf of which can be downloaded from a link at the end of this page.)

The Foundation launched a year-long initiative because;

1. Without such data disclosure there can be no satisfactory public accountability for policy measures.

2. Analysis of progress towards environmental and energy targets is hindered.

3. New entrants to the electricity market are impeded by lack of clarity, meaning competition is inhibited.

4.  Academic and technical research into emerging problems is all but impossible.

In an accompanying statement (attached), to be circulated to politicians and industry specialists the Foundation called for improved data transparency in four specific areas, examples include a call for the free publication of metered generation data for all generators, including embedded generators (where data is not at present even collected), and a statutory requirement on National Grid to provide details of operational costs.

Dr John Constable, Head of Policy and Research said:

"If we want an economically efficient electricity system it is essential that full data relevant to all the costs imposed on customers by generators should be in the public domain. At present this is not the case. For example, actual metered generation data is costly, difficult, or impossible to obtain. This is not in the public interest."

The occasion of these remarks was the publication of a collection of papers by the leading European engineer, Paul-Frederik Bach, formerly Planning Director for the Danish grid, and the launch of REF's latest Renewable Energy Data files, including a new searchable online database giving free information, including performance data, for all 5,400 renewable electricity generators operating under the Renewables Obligation subsidy (visit

Speaking at the event Professor Michael Laughton, FREng, who has contributed a preface to Mr Bach's book, said: "Paul-Frederik Bach's work uses large bodies of publicly available Danish and German data to analyse and address wind integration problems. At present we could not attempt to replicate this work in the UK as the data simply isn't available. That has to change."

Mr Bach said: "Planning for future electricity systems requires data transparency. The UK situation is frustrating, and increases the risk of future difficulties and costs to the consumer."


For further information please contact Margareta Stanley on 020 7930 3636 or 07968 049 832, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Notes for Editors:

1. The Renewable Energy Foundation is a registered charity promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the public by means of energy conservation and the use of renewable energy. REF is supported by private donation and has no political affiliation or corporate membership. In pursuit of its principal goals REF highlights the need for an overall energy policy that is balanced, ecologically sensitive, and effective. We aim to raise public awareness of the issues and encourage informed debate regarding a structured energy policy that is both ecologically sensitive and practical. The issues of climate change and security of energy supply are complex and closely intertwined. REF contributes to the debate surrounding these issues by commissioning reports to provide an independent and authoritative source of information.

2. REF's new searchable database is published as part of the charity's ongoing commitment to providing free information on the renewable sector to improve public accountability for this heavily subsidised sector. See

3. Paul-Frederik Bach's book, with a preface by Michael Laughton, is entitled The Variability of Wind Power: Collected Papers 2009-2010 and is available from the Renewable Energy Foundation, 21 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6JG. 020 7930 3636.

4. Professor Michael Laughton is Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Queen Mary, University of London and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is one of the UK's leading electrical engineers.

5. Paul-Frederik Bach worked with grid and generation planning at ELSAM the west Danish power station operator, until 1997, and then as Planning Director at Eltra, the Transmission System Operation, with special responsibility for integrating wind generation. He is one of Europe's leading grid engineers, and is still active in advising the Danish government on the direction of its policy.

Last Updated on Monday, 15 August 2011