UK's complex energy sector clarified with new IET publication

Posted On: 
4th September 2017

The aim of the report is to help readers better understand the intricacies of the complex energy sector, providing a straightforward rundown of its main structure while also outlining the major areas of change.

The publication identifies the new energy challenge that has emerged within the sector over recent years.
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The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has published its ‘Overview of Britain’s Changing Energy Sector’, part of a series of publications that explore the key developments taking place across the industry, the factors that are enabling these changes and how the UK energy sector can be fit for purpose.

The paper delivers a summary of the main energy vectors – electricity, combustible substances and heat carrying substances – with each section explaining their evolution over time, their key characteristics today and providing a forward outlook.

The publication also identifies the new energy challenge that has emerged within the sector over recent years and what can be done to meet the requirements, followed by a breakdown of the eight key drivers for change, which include the implications of technical, economical, societal environmental and political developments on how this challenge can be faced.

Another highlight is the ‘Smart Energy Picture’, which aims to help readers visualise and analyse the structure of the UK’s energy system. The Smart Energy Picture is used to identify six key themes, which encompass: understanding the needs and wants of customers; how the whole energy system must be flexible and able to adapt to external changes; the use of new approaches to drive sustainability and efficiency; the importance of increased collaboration across the sector for optimised services; collaborating and aligning innovation both within and outside the sector and unlocking the power of data.

Each theme is then broken down into six interoperable layers – Market Structure/Policy; Business/Organisational; Function; Information and Communication; Component and Customer – forming a framework that is designed to be simple to digest.

Alison Carr, IET Director of Policy, said: “The energy sector is undergoing unprecedented change and the more static and centralised energy systems built in the last century are transforming into new flexible, sustainable and user-focused energy systems.

“To help navigate the complexities of the sector, the IET has worked to bring together simplified explanations and forward-looking views, offering an ‘at a glance’ summary of its main structure while also identifying the key areas of change.”

The publication is the latest in a series that offers an in-depth look at the big questions that have become common across the various sectors.

To download the document, visit