Principles for the formulation of policy for the Electricity System

Errochty hydro power station, nuclear safety inspectors, and Cockenzie coal-fired power station


The Electricity System is defined as the combination of the generation and transmission facilities.

This website sets out principles that should underpin the development of policy for the GB Electricity System. It seeks to make statements that are based on logic and fact, avoiding opinions, as far as is practical.

The fundamental principle is that policy decisions should be based on reliable studies that seek to achieve outcomes which reduce the latent uncertainties inherent in the System to a level that is appropriate to the context.

These studies need to embrace all the requirements for the Electicity System. The fundamental objective is that policy decsions will be based of balanced judgements that take account of all requirements.

Cost, Security of Supply and emissions reduction should be assessed as part of a Total System Analysis.

The System should have an appropriate proportion of each type of electricity generation but not more than is appropriate. The reliable studies would provide information that would be used in making decisions about such proportionality.

This website does not describe all the issues that justify the need for reliable studies.  There is however a focus on issues relating to generation of electricity from wind.  This is because (a) wind energy is the main renewable source being developed for electricity generation and (b) the degree of intermittency of wind power is such that use of a system approach in planning for it is of speciall importance.

The need for appropriate government action based on the principles set out in this document is manifest.



September 2014 A presentation about the effect of wind energy in the Electricity System.

October 2014 IESIS submission to House of Lords Call for Evidence about the resilience of the Electricity Infrastructure

October 2014 The spreadsheet used used to calculate the risk to Security of Supply for the GB System 2014-2036 as quoted in the above document

October 2014 A paper on Engineering the GB Electricity System was published in the IESIS 2014 Journal

January 2015 A paper on Re-organising the GB Electricity System was been prepared for the Renewable Energy Foundation

April 2015 A Message to all political parties regarding the actions that need to be take by the incoming Secretary of State for Energy

May 2015 A spreadsheet to estimate the extra cost of wind energy in the GB Electriciy System:

September 2015 A short paper about the need for assessment of the GB Electriciy System:

November 2015 Closure of Longannet represents a serious risk for Scotland

December 2015 Agenda article in The Herald on security of the electricity supply authored by IESIS fellow David Watson.    

March 2016 Engineering Planning IESIS issues a new statement about the urgent need for engineeing plnanning of the electricity system

This version of the website launched May 2013