On Tuesday 5 December, Westminster Business School students who have elected to study modules in energy economics and policy attended a series of presentations by expert speakers from the National Grid, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Marks and Spencer and the Energy Storage Association.

The module, Strategy and Policy, is one of the core modules of Westminster’s Energy and Environmental Change MA and it is also offered as an optional module for MA students in other subjects such as Development.

Organised by Dr Catarina Araya Cardoso, a lecturer at Westminster Business School, the first part of the workshop was about institutional frameworks. Edward Nelson from BEIS talked about the transition to a smart energy system and the role played by the government, the regulator (OFGEM) and the National Grid in encouraging and facilitating this process. His presentation was followed by Thomas Maidonis, from the National Grid, who explained the role of the System Operator and how it is addressing the challenges brought about by increased intermittency in the system.

After a break during which students had an opportunity to mingle and talk with the speakers, there was a presentation by Barry Menzies about how Marks and Spencer has been providing flexibility to the system by reducing energy demand at specific times. Georgina Penfold then talked about the advantages and challenges faced by energy managers when becoming more flexible and adjusting to the new low carbon economy. Both presentations provided a lively depiction of the challenges involved and offered a very positive view of the opportunities associated with a smart energy system.

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