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 Thomas Pownall

Thomas Pownall

PhD Candidate

 Stella Turk Building SERSF G2.28


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE


Thomas joined the Energy Policy Group in 2017 after securing EPSRC funding for his PhD: Re-designing Electricity Markets for a high renewable future. 

Currently in his second year of his PhD, Thomas has contributed to Exeter University’s Energy Policy Group’ research. His work has been publicised via submission to consultations, and his output has been presented at conferences as well as to external shareholders from the industry interested in the future of the electricity markets.

In addition Thomas has liaised locally with various groups such as the Falmouth Energy Partnership and the ExeterEnergy initiative.

Broad research specialisms

Electricity market design, re-design, governance, transitions 


2017: MSc Sustainable Development
2016: BSc (Hons) Geography


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Research interests

Thomas is interested in the role of the UK’s current energy governance (policies, institutions, networks, market designs) and the role that these could play in transforming the energy system to one that is more sustainable.

Within this broad spectrum, Thomas is specifically interested in the role of our electricity market design - the interwoven policies and rules which dictate the how electricity can be traded - and the associated revenue streams. A key aspect of any transition is the financial viability of the new system. To promote increased deployment of variable renewable generators, Demand Side Response and battery storage, an electricity market design which rewards these assets is required.

Research projects

PhD: Re-designing Electricity Markets for a High Renewable Future

With the increased deployment of renewable variable generation there is a clear need for the transformation of many aspects of the current energy system in order to achieve the UK’s decarbonisation goals. Thomas specifically focuses on the role of the UK’s electricity market design within this shift and he is currently re-designing the current trading rules for electricity to better reflect high variable renewable generation which also places consumers at the heart of the electricity system.

If you are interested to hear more about Thomas’ proposal for a new electricity market design in the UK please read the blog series below, or email Thomas at the link above.



Research Outputs:

Thomas Pownall
Electricity market redesign: a typology of interventions 

October 2019 | Presentation at the I-REMB Conference, Copenhagen | ‌Slides

Thomas Pownall 
An electricity market design for a renewable, storage and energy efficient electricity system 
October 2019 | Presentation to the Department of Planning, Copenhagen | Slides

Thomas Pownall
Market Design Issues for a smart, flexible, sustainable and secure energy system

July 2019 | IGov Blog Series 

Blog 1: Setting the scene
Blog 2: The ‘rules of the game’ and why they no longer work
Blog 3: The institutional glue to link markets and networks
Blog 4: Proposed design
Blog 5: Summary of blog series 

Catherine Mitchell, Rebecca Willis, Richard Hoggett, Thomas Pownall, Richard Lowes and Jessica Britton
New Thinking: The IGov institutional framework for energy governance

July 2019 | IGov New Thinking | Link

Rachel Bray, Thomas Pownall, Catherine Mitchell and Bridget Woodman
Submission to ENA Future Worlds: Impact Assessment Consultation
May 2019 | Submission to ENA | PDF

Thomas Pownall
Electricity market design for a sustainable, secure and efficient electricity system in the UK
January 2019 | Presentation to Energy Systems Catapult, Birmingham | Slides

Catherine Mitchell and Thomas Pownall
Consumer participation and market design issues 
November 2018 | Presentation to OIES, Oxford | Link 

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Thomas has taught at undergraduate level and to international summer school students.

Thomas has also co-led on both national and international field trips contributing to the teaching of the energy aspects on these courses.

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