Insight papers

Our Insight papers offer detailed and evidence-based thought leadership on key market characteristics. They are designed to provide thought-provoking perspectives and recommendations as well as contribute to industry debates. Through a combination of in-depth industry knowledge and practical experience, our Insight papers will help you keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the market.

Our Insight papers cover a wide range of topics including future networks, the Capacity Market, electric vehicles, corporate PPAs, wind and more

Latest papers

  • Low carbon generation

    Renewable asset repowering and net zero

    In our latest short research paper, we consider policy options and solutions for the building and repowering of assets across GB, Ireland, and Australia. While technology can be uitilised to optimize renewable energy assets and extend their life, the components and materials from decommissioned assets can be refurbished, reused or...

  • Net zero corporates and ESG

    Unlocking net zero strategies for business

    An increasing number of businesses are looking to reduce their emissions and become sustainable to align with the government’s net zero strategy. Setting targets is crucial for companies with complexity across sectors, technologies and business structures. This paper explores the potential routes to decarbonisation that businesses have at their disposal...

  • Net zero corporates and ESG

    An equitable transition to net zero

    This paper addresses one of the fundamental issues in the transition to net zero: how to resolve the accrual of national decarbonisation benefits with the imposition of regional network costs through distribution charges. It examines this through the lens of North Scotland, where the tension between these two forces is...

  • E-mobility and low carbon

    Electric vehicle charging: unlocking the business models

    Cornwall Insight and TLT spoke to stakeholders in the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging space about the charging infrastructure market and the business models that support it. The UK’s 2030 petrol and diesel car sales ban is igniting the charging infrastructure race. However, there are still challenges ahead related to technology,...

  • Business supply and services

    Industrial decarbonisation key for UK low carbon hydrogen

    Hydrogen has an important role in decarbonising the industrial sector; simultaneously, industries need to redesign and reinvent their processes to use hydrogen. Low carbon hydrogen should be adopted in applications with maximum emission reduction potential to maximise its decarbonisation potential.

  • Home supply and services

    The role of connected homes in achieving net zero

    A connected home is defined as one with multiple integrated devices that can be automated and easily controlled to create a safe, convenient, and comfortable environment. The largest companies operating in the connected home sector are the technology majors such as Amazon, Google and Apple, but there are also many...

  • Energy storage and flexibility

    Reaching net zero: the value of flexibility

    With battery storage and demand side response (DSR) set to play a significant role in supporting the delivery of greater amounts of renewable power and managing electricity networks, we consider revenue streams for related flexibility services across GB, Ireland, and Australia. While outside the scope of this paper, routes to...

  • Net zero corporates and ESG

    Securing the UK’s role as a green financial hub

    Ahead of COP26, Cornwall Insight and TLT spoke to industry leaders about the UK’s progress with building a green finance market and what’s needed to make green finance mainstream. As the whole world looks to the Glasgow summit for new, progressive policies, what do businesses, investors and financial institutions deem...

  • Home supply and services

    Consolidation in the domestic energy market

    The domestic energy supply market has gone through a period of intense competition over the last five years. Lower barriers to entry saw a rise in licensed competitors to a peak of 62 in 2018, diversifying propositions, service and added value options for consumers. Today, that number has fallen to...

  • Low carbon generation

    Four technologies to reach net zero

    There is no single technological fix to resolve the climate crisis. Instead, a range of technologies must be developed and deployed at scale to tackle the vast challenges associated with the deep decarbonisation of the economy. This report will cover a few of those technologies, including carbon capture, hydrogen, floating...

  • Low carbon generation

    Merchant renewables still face challenges

    In light of delayed RESS-2 auctions in Ireland, and the prospect of buying constraints in the next CfD auction (for established technologies) leading to many disappointed developers, the question of whether “merchant” project development is viable will soon be occupying the minds of our customers in both Ireland and Great...

  • Heat networks

    Who pays for supporting the net zero transition

    The costs of decarbonising the power system have mainly been funded through consumers’ electricity bills. In 2020-21 these costs amounted to £10bn with the expectation that support for low carbon generation will continue to be necessary. If we are to maintain a trajectory to net zero carbon emissions at 2050,...

  • Power and gas networks

    Understanding the backdrop of the UK hydrogen economy

    We have compiled this research note on the UK hydrogen economy as a primer for an upcoming series of hydrogen insight papers. We discuss past and current hydrogen support schemes in the UK as well as the bodies that have been established to stimulate a hydrogen economy. We explain various...

  • Low carbon generation

    The net zero paradox – challenges of designing markets to bring forward low marginal cost resources

    The scale and speed of the net zero targets require a refocus of the traditional goals of electricity market design to ensure efficient dispatch, adequate capacity and optimal investment. Electricity markets need to support the investment and dispatch to meet low carbon objectives, but the fundamental drivers of the electricity...

  • Energy storage and flexibility

    Optimal coordination of active network management schemes with balancing services markets

    WSP, Cornwall Insight and Complete Strategy are undertaking a Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) funded project on behalf of National Grid Electricity System Operator (NG ESO) and Western Power Distribution (WPD). The project is investigating the optimal coordination of Active Network Management (ANM) schemes on both the distribution and transmission networks...

  • E-mobility and low carbon

    Leading the charge! Fleet charging – a catalyst for the EV revolution

    PwC & Cornwall Insight have partnered to better understand and explain the rapidly evolving market for fleet electrification. Fleet charging has the potential to revolutionise EVs. It has the scale to accelerate the adoption of EVs across the UK, improve air quality, lower noise pollution and ultimately play a critical...

  • Regulation and policy

    Future networks – RIIO-ED2 (Issue 3)

    This is the third research paper in a series exploring the evolution of regional flexibility markets and how they can support the development of an efficient, low carbon energy system. The series is prepared by Cornwall Insight, Complete Strategy and Shakespeare Martineau. This paper has been led by Complete Strategy...

  • Regulation and policy

    Future networks – flexibility (Issue 2)

    This is the second in our series of “Future Networks” discussion papers. It builds on the background laid out in our recent “Setting the Scene” publication. The focus of this paper is on how the future roles of Distribution System Operators (DSOs) may evolve if flexibility exchange platforms became widespread,...

  • Regulation and policy

    Future networks – setting the scene

    This is the inaugural research paper in a series that will explore the evolution of regional flexibility markets and how they can support the development of an efficient, low carbon energy system. Entitled “Future Networks”, the series will be jointly prepared by Cornwall Insight, Complete Strategy and Shakespeare Martineau. This...

  • Low carbon generation

    Market design amidst global energy transition

    Increasing levels of intermittent generation around the world are prompting debates for market participants and operators about how to optimise network design and ensure appropriate regulatory and commercial arrangements. This includes the most appropriate methods for charging for networks, managing access to them and dealing with issues such as network...

  • Low carbon generation

    The dawn of corporate PPAs in Ireland?

    With the recent activity in the Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) market in Ireland, one can be forgiven for thinking that the landscape for energy purchasing by large Corporate entities is shifting drastically and quickly. Amazon has signed direct agreements with two wind farms and the government has set stretch...

  • Heat networks

    The future of UK heat networks – critical comparisons with European markets

    The UK faces a variety of challenges in terms of tackling heat decarbonisation and implementing effective, low-risk options to serve toward meeting 2050 targets. Carbon produced from heat is the single largest contributor to overall emissions in the UK, at 37% of the total per year. Heat networks may have...

  • Low carbon generation

    Wind in the Australian and Great British energy markets

    A wind turbine is the same piece of engineering no matter where on earth it is located, yet assuming largely similar natural wind resources, the variety of risks and value wind turbines create is very much driven by the market characteristics in which they operate. As a pre-eminent energy research,...

  • Home supply and services

    Research Paper | Flying too close to the sun – SoLR processes in water and energy

    While the electricity and gas processes have been undertaken repeatedly over the past twelve months, this will be the first test of Ofwat and MOSL’s Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) processes in the two years since the market has been open. Cornwall Insight has published a paper looking at the...

  • E-mobility and low carbon

    Arming the fleet – accelerating businesses scale adoption of EVs

    Road transport is a significant source of carbon emissions, likely contributing to accelerated climate change. The Road to Zero has been put in place to decarbonise road transport, setting out the broad direction for a zero-emission vehicle transition. Battery electric vehicles are viewed as the main solution to clean-up transport,...

  • Low carbon generation

    Rationalising Micro-generation Exports

    In this Rationalising Micro-generation Exports insight paper, we set out a four-part solution to ensure the continuation of a guaranteed route to market for micro-generation exports as the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme closes to new investment on 1 April 2019. This paper builds on the September 2018 UnFiT for Purpose...

  • E-mobility and low carbon

    Electric Vehicles: ‘Driven to Disruption’?

    The electrification of road transport is rising swiftly up the policy agenda. It will have profound impacts across the electricity value chain. This paper explains and evaluates the electricity supplier offerings emerging for electric vehicles (EVs), driven largely by consumer demand, and how policy and regulatory frameworks need to adapt...

  • Low carbon generation

    Turn up the volume: reinventing CfD auctions

    We argue that changes to the CfD regime should be closely examined to address several limitations in the targets, timings and integration of the auctions with the wider energy system and market landscape: The current approach does not ensure that CfD procurement meets the UK’s decarbonisation trajectory;Investors do not have...

  • Low carbon generation

    UnFiT for purpose

    This insight paper from Pixie Energy, sister company of Cornwall Insight, recommends a Transitional Offtake Tariff to support continued support of deployment of small generators from April 2019 until new local markets can be shown to work. This could be achieved at no cost to consumers by tying export rates to...

  • Low carbon generation

    Wholesale Power Price Cannibalisation

    With the withdrawal of government subsidies for new investment, such as the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and Renewables Obligation (RO), and the limited spend remaining for the Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme, the value earned from wholesale power is going to become increasingly important for renewables. However, a complicating factor will...

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