University of Surrey

Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC)


SEEC hosts and/or organises a number of different events.

Coming SEEC Seminars:

12:00-13.00 Wednesday 17th May 2017. Room 75MS02
Paolo Agnolucci & Vincenzo De Lipsis, UCL, ‘Energy Consumption Across UK Industrial Subsectors’.
The importance of considering homogenous economic agents when estimating energy demand functions is recognized in the literature, but so far data availability problems have explained the prevalence of empirical analyses only at an aggregate level. Motivated by the goal of developing the new industrial energy consumption model to be adopted by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), we propose the first cointegration analysis that provides evidence on energy demand elasticities with respect to economic activity and energy price at a disaggregated industrial level. While the average of our estimates are comparable to those of the existing literature on the industrial sector as a whole, we find that there is considerable heterogeneity in relation to the long-run impact of economic activity and energy price on energy consumption, as well as to the speed with which firms re-adjust their equilibrium demand of energy in response to economic shocks. Moreover, we discover that long-run disequilibria are tackled through altering the level of energy consumption rather than economic activity, a conclusion that has useful implications for policy analysis. As time series for industrial subsectors at the two-digit SIC level with a length similar to the dataset used in this study are increasingly becoming available, we would welcome application of our approach to industrial subsectors in other countries to start building evidence on energy demand elasticities which reflect the structural peculiarities of firms belonging to different industrial subsectors.

Some previous events include:

10th May 2017
Xiaoyi (Shawn) Mu, University of Dundee, ‘Asymmetric Volatility in Commodity Markets’.
This paper examines the relationship between return volatility and the level of returns in commodity markets. We develop a simple commodity price framework and show that the volatility of price changes can be positively or negatively related to demand shocks depending on the demand and supply elasticities. We empirically examine the behaviour of volatility using both time-series conditional volatility models and monthly realized volatility measures for a range of commodities including agricultural products, energy, industrial metals and precious metals. An “inverse leverage effect” – the conditional volatility is higher following a positive shock -- is found in about half of the daily spot price series. The effect becomes more prevalent when jumps were modelled, but largely disappears in 3-month futures market. Only crude oil is found to exhibit a “leverage effect” – a higher volatility follows a negative shock.

22nd March 2017.
Subhes Bhattacharyya, De Montfort University, ‘Economics of mini-grids for electricity access in developing countries’.
Around 1.2 billion people lacked access to electricity in 2014. Recent initiatives like the SE4ALL and the launch of Sustainable Development Goals with Goal 7.1 specifically on energy access have set a target of ensuring universal energy access by 2030. There is a long tradition of supporting rural electrification by the state and international community and electricity access has often relied on grid extension but it is now recognised that alternative options have to be pursued given the magnitude of the challenge. Alternative solutions come in two generic forms – stand-alone systems and local-grid systems. Various studies suggest that nearly 60% of the additional generation will come from off-grid, a majority of which will be mini-grids. This talk will consider the factors influencing the economics of mini-grid projects and discuss the trends in this emerging market. Support mechanisms and enabling environment to promote mini-grid based electrification will also be considered.

29th March 2017.
Michael Pollitt, University of Cambridge, ‘Restructuring the Chinese Electricity Supply Sector: Lessons from International Experience’.
We begin with a brief background to the current Chinese power market reforms which began with the No.9 Document of March 2015. We introduce 14 different electricity reform elements from international experience. Under each of these reform elements we will discuss: its theoretical significance; general reform experiences with it; and its application in the Chinese context. Our motivation is how China might bring down the industrial price of electricity. We identify four promising sources of price reduction: the introduction of economic dispatch of power plants; rationalisation of electricity transmission and distribution; reduction of high rates of investment; and rebalancing of electricity charges towards residential customers. We conclude with some overall lessons and identify some important points for future research into Chinese power market reform.

30th November 2016.
Robert Gross, Imperial College, ‘Innovation in energy: Theory, timescales and the role of policy’.
Recent climate change initiatives urge redoubled research into innovative low carbon technologies. However, climate change is an urgent problem – emission reduction must take place rapidly throughout the coming decades. This raises an important question – how long might it take for new technologies to emerge from research and make an impact on emissions reduction? Here, we consider historical evidence for the time technological innovations have taken to emerge from invention, diffuse into the market and reach widespread deployment. We compare seven energy sector innovations and seven consumer products. We find considerable variation, from 19 to 70 years, with a mean of 37 years. The findings indicate that the time needed to move from research to widespread deployment should not be overlooked in the climate policy debate. Innovation policy is crucial to tackling climate change, but should focus on improving and deploying existing technologies as well as research into new ones..

16th November 2016.
Neil Strachan, UCL Energy Institute, ‘Modelling energy transitions under landscape and actor inertia’.
Interdisciplinary research to energy transitions has traditionally used frameworks – such as energy systems optimisation modelling (ESOM) – that assume a cost driven systems planner, competitive markets, complete information and perfect intertemporal foresight (i.e., a first-best policy landscape). Such models have been highly useful in understanding trades-off in long-term energy decarbonisation. However they tend to give a lower bound on the costs of any transition and overestimate the speed at which established socioeconomic and technological systems can be adapted to alternatives that are compatible with a climate stabilised, 2 °C world. The emerging literature on formal modelling of socio-technical energy transitions (STET) illustrates how technological diffusion is often influenced by actors and institutions interacting under less ideal, second-best conditions. This presentation explores these factors in a formal STET model – BLUE – a dynamic stochastic socio-technical simulation of technology diffusion, energy and emissions inspired by the multi-level perspective. Using the UK energy system as an example, the results illustrate how socio-technical inertia may significantly blunt future efforts to achieve climate targets.

2nd November 2016.
Peter Roscoe, Climate Change Economics, ‘Green Deal means No Deal; how the experts got this flagship policy so wrong’.
The seminar will examine the context and the decision making that led to the launch and rapid demise of the flagship residential-energy-efficiency policy: “Green Deal”. Dead and gone in 30 months, the policy was a response to the universally agreed need to fill the energy efficiency gap. Its stand out feature was the use of a charge on the household energy supply to avoid upfront capital costs. The economic evidence and approaches to decisions, including on dealing with market failures will be discussed. What are the lessons for future energy-efficiency policy appraisal and will a Phoenix rise from the ashes?.

19th October 2016.
Veronica Cinti, SEEC, University of Surrey, ‘Identity and Competitive Identities in Renewable Energy Development in the Gulf’.
We investigate possible collaborations between two of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in relation to the development of renewable energy in the Persian Gulf. We do so by carrying out a game theoretical analysis with the inclusion of identity, coherent with the idea presented by Akerlof and Kranton about the role of identity in guiding economic decisions. We extend some of the concepts presented in the Akerlof and Kranton model and individuate an additional source of potential identity loss in the interaction. The game shows how identity is relevant to the success of collaborative efforts; it also draws a framework for the development of collaborative proposals aimed at avoiding resource waste and time delays, as well as at containing part of the potential for failure and loss of synergetic profits.

18th May 2016.
Richard Green, Imperial College, 'The impacts of renewable generators and of storage on the electricity market'.
The prices in a competitive wholesale electricity market are set by the intersections of the demand curve, shifting dramatically over the year, with a supply curve based on marginal costs. In the short term, adding renewable capacity shifts out the supply curve (when the weather allows) or, equivalently, shifts in the demand curve seen by all other plants. This leads to a reduction in prices, but in the long term, the capacity mix will also change, raising the time-weighted average price back to its previous level. Adding storage further changes the pattern of demand met by conventional plants, and hence the pattern of prices. Building more transmission lines across Europe will also help to deal with the variations in renewable output, but while costs will fall overall, some countries are likely to see higher prices. This presentation will draw on joint work with Thomas Leautier, with Iain Staffell and with Nicholas Vasilakos.

Friday 13th May 2016.
Amrita Sen, Energy Aspects, 'OPEC and the new oil world'.
All change. As the market bids farewell to Saudi Arabia’s stalwart oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, it finds itself at a crossroad. Supplies are falling fast with unplanned outages rising rapidly to above 3 mb/d, the three-year high. While the market expects OPEC output to rise, particularly from Iran and Saudi Arabia, production from LatAm and African members is falling rapidly. Moreover, while Iranian exports have surprised, the Saudi’s do not plan to raise output beyond seasonal norms in the near term. Non-OPEC supplies are falling by over 1 mb/d, led by Latin America and Asia as $250 billion Capex cutback starts to bite and decline rates step up. With demand starting to pick-up seasonally from here, crude stockdraws should commence from H2 16 having built across 2014 and 2015 and most of 2016 so far. The biggest concern about the recent rally is that US tight oil producers will hedge. But unlike last year, when producers had locked in lower costs, the outlook today is far more uncertain. Service companies have been squeezed and producers know they will face higher costs as activity rises. Hedging without knowing costs is a risk that producers may not be willing to take. So, is the market headed for a spike in the coming years as supply declines accelerate even as demand remains weak? Or can US shale, Iran or Saudi Arabia save the day?

Wednesday 27th April 2016.
Paul Stevens, University of Dundee/Chatham House, 'The prospects for oil markets: Short, medium and long term'.
Since the oil price collapse after June 2014, oil markets have received a great deal of attention. This paper will begin by considering the reasons for the lower price seeking explanations in supply and demand in the market and the geo-political context in which these market drivers operate. It will then look to the future for oil prices in the short term given oil prices are now determined in a competitive international market for the first time since 1928. This raises the question as to the existence of a floor and ceiling price and the prospects for price volatility. The paper then considers the future state of the oil market in the medium and long term given the changing geo-politics and the changing energy context post COP21.

Wednesday 20th April 2016.
Roger Fouquet, LSE, 'Long Run Welfare Effects of Energy Services and Technologies (1700-2010)'.

Technological innovations are seen as a key source of economic growth. They also feed through into major changes in consumer wellbeing. This paper addresses two challenges of estimating welfare benefits from major technological revolutions by analyzing the common services the incumbent and new technologies provide to consumers and by using historical data to reveal the full demand curve and, therefore, more accurate consumer surplus values. These estimates are combined with estimates of the external costs of these services. Thus, this paper provides a historical cost-benefit analysis of technological revolutions. The paper shows the dramatic increases in consumer surplus for transport services associated with shifting from stage-coaches to the railways to cars, and for lighting services resulting from the transitions from tallow candles to gaslight to electric lighting. These increases in consumer surpluses reflect the dramatic transformation in economies, societies and lifestyles that mobility and illumination provided. The evidence also shows that not all technological innovations increase consumer surplus (relative to income). However, some of these innovations helped to reduce the substantial environmental damage and, therefore, indirectly added to social welfare. By projecting the trends in income and price elasticities, this method offers a way for identifying the value of future technologies to consumers, which may help to direct R&D investment.

Wednesday 2nd December 2015.
Jacopo Torriti, University of Reading, 'Where is the flexibility? Peak electricity demand, price elasticity and people’s activities'.

Wednesday 25th November 2015.
Steve Sorrell, University of Sussex, 'Estimating direct rebound effects for car travel in Great Britain'.

Wednesday 4th November 2015.
Richard Tol, University of Sussex, 'Non-parametric meta-analysis and kernel decomposition, with an application to the social cost of carbon'.

Tuesday 14th May 2013
Challenge Energy Limited, 'Commercialisation of Gas in Sub Saharan Africa: Practical Lessons Learnt from the past 10 years'.

Wednesday 21st November 2012
Sjur Westgaard, 'Modelling and Forecasting Electricity Price Risk with Quantile Factor Models' based on the paper 'Analysis and Forecasting of Electricity Price Risks with Quantile Factor Models'.

Monday 16th May 2011
Christof Ruehl, 'BP 2030 Energy Outlook'.

Thursday 3rd March 2011
Talk by Lord David Howell of Guildford, 'The Politics of Energy'.

Tuesday 29th March 2011
Bassam Fattouh, 'The Crude Oil Pricing System: Issues and Prospects'.

Wednesday 23rd March 2011
Catherine Mitchell, 'Electricity Market Reform'.

Friday 18th March 2011
Schlumberger Oil and Gas Seminar: Firas Zeineddine, 'Are we running out of oil? The power of technology'

Tuesday 8th March 2011
Richard De Caux,'Making Sense of the Oil Market'

Monday 17th January 2011
David C Broadstock, Global oil prices and Chinese energy and resource stocks: Contrasting evidence from GARCH and Dynamic Linear Models (DLM)

June 2010
SEEC was a joint organiser of the 3rd International Workshop on Empirical Methods in Energy Economics (EMEE) was held here at the university. [Click here for the further details about EMEE2010.]

Wednesday 4th November 2009
Jevgenijs Steinbuks, Operational and Investment Response to Energy Prices in OECD Manufacturing: Evidence from athe Vintage Capital Model

Thursday 18th and Friday 19th January 2007
City University’s - Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy held its Winter Workshop at SEEC.. There were a variety of papers covering areas such as Telecoms, Financial Regulation and Electricity Markets. [Click here for the programme.]

The 'Energy in a Competitive Market' conference was held here at the university in Honour of Colin Robinson. This resulted in an edited book published in 2003. [Click here for the further details.]


Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800