2018: The Year of Living Dangerously

With 2018 having drawn to a close, the year saw another busy period in energy market activity and regulation, against the looming backdrop of Brexit. Cornwall Insight has compiled an annual overview, attempting to capture the highlights and main developments. We consider energy policy, networks regulation and retail and wholesale energy markets. But, as we move into 2019, when we look over our shoulder we perceive a year of limited progress and missed opportunities.

We observe three dominating but perhaps contradictory themes:

• regulatory action has adhered to short-term economic regulatory objectives, but it remains poorly coordinated with longer-term policy objectives

• government has defaulted to big, showpiece policy announcements as compensation for delays in strategic policy-making, and

• inconsistency has been revealed in sharp relief between a stated desire for market-based solutions, when intervention itself is undermining markets