A Return Long Overdue- Hiatus-Busting Nexus Revitalisation

Retrieved from Amu Darya Basin Network

 

A Return Long Overdue- Hiatus-Busting Nexus Revitalisation

by Miles Ten Brinke

Seems it’s been rather a long while since you last heard from me, but the hiatus is done.

The summer came and went, and you’ve not seen a single column from me. Fear not, it was just the season for it. Autumn’s come and with it a renewed endeavor for the Nexus. Now though, let me explain the reason for my absence. When last I wrote I was preparing to jump into the intensive interim between finishing the taught portion of my MSc Energy Policy and starting my PhD. That is, working over the summer both on my MSc dissertation and as a Policy Analyst for the UK economic state regulator for energy- Ofgem.

I had the privilege of working between two electricity transmission teams (European and Offshore) and the Sustainable Energy Policy (SEP) team on Ofgem’s Integrated Transmission Planning & Regulation (ITPR) project. ITPR is a fundamental shift in the way electricity transmission in GB will be regulated, toward a more integrated and flexible approach in pursuit of enabling decarbonisation, strengthened GB system security and resilience , a more efficient UK energy system and greater integration with European markets.

My small contribution came in three roles- assisting in external stakeholder engagement, coordinating the development of a toolkit for assessing the strategic and sustainability elements of relevant Ofgem projects through the newly revised Impact Assessment (IA) Guidance, and finally to help scope out the framework for assessing ITPR under the new IA guidance. I got to be a part of all that while simultaneously writing a 15,000 word dissertation analysing the transformational potential of ITPR (as of its 5 June Emerging Thinking consultation).

My summer was an incredibly enriching experience but equally as challenging.  Never doubt the virtue of the long slog. Always hope you work at a place with a cheap on-site gym and canteen food. Damn fine group of people there on the ITPR and SEP teams, got through many a 12+ hour day with their help and support.  The opportunities for my intellectual and professional development were fantastic, in particular allowing experience at project management in a policy setting. Between ITPR and working with SEP on developing a toolkit framework for applying the new IA approach (which has a much deeper and more integrated strategic and sustainability domain of the like I’ve never seen) I came at just the right time to be part of some really exciting work and substantial change.

The dissertation was equally rewarding and difficult. I’ve never worked harder or been more proud of a single piece of work. I conducted 20 interviews, a scenario-building workshop with 8 participants (all former interviewees) and analysed 15 written consultation responses. I even attempted to apply the theoretical perspective I plan to use for my PhD.  It turned out alright.  The result is far from perfect, but one which I’m hoping to contribute to the live debate about the further development of ITPR. For both my dissertation and overall grade I finished with Distinction.

Three very intense months cushioned by some time off before and after and now the next stage. As of mid-September I have no begun my PhD Business and Management at the University of Manchester Business School. My research title still has a nice twang to it- Enabling the Water-Energy Nexus Socio-technical Transition to Sustainability: Case Studies in the United Kingdom, American Southwest and the World’s Desert Lands. I’ve a very busy and hopefully productive first year ahead. First full week has gone well, very excited to get moving again.

I’m back, please do join me!!

~ Miles on Water

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