The Return of Centralised Energy Planning

15 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2013

See all articles by Colin Robinson

Colin Robinson

University of Surrey - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2013


After a brief period of liberalisation, the UK energy market is reverting towards its pre‐1980s state in which central government intervenes extensively, particularly in the fuel choices of electricity generators. Many powerful interest groups benefit from centralised energy planning, which may be why the market reverts to that situation as a norm. Of the two principal reasons given for government intervention, there is little substance in the argument that it improves security of supply. There may be a better case for action to offset prospective climate change, but the present centralised approach risks massive errors. Decentralised, market‐based action is more appropriate.

Keywords: centralised planning, climate change, energy policy, security of supply

JEL Classification: H23, H41, L94, L95, Q48, Q5

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Colin, The Return of Centralised Energy Planning (October 2013). Economic Affairs, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 312-326, 2013, Available at SSRN: or

Colin Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - Department of Economics ( email )

Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
+44 1483 682782 (Phone)
+44 1483 689548 (Fax)

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