• Primary Program Energy Transitions and Electric Power
  • Research Interests Electricity markets, inovation dynamics, systems modeling, computational social science, consumer and market behavior and interdisciplinary research


Iqbal is a former KAPSARC senior research fellow who led the Utilities of the Future project that develops decision support tools for operational and strategic decision making. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), a member of the Institute of Physics (IOP) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Iqbal is also the inventor of several patents.


See all Iqbal’s publications
  • Discussion papers
  • Report
  • KAPSARC journal article
Reorganizing Power Markets: A Reliability Insurance Business Model for Utilities

Reorganizing Power Markets: A Reliability Insurance Business Model for Utilities

A market in which individuals pursue their own self-interest normally maximizes aggregate economic well-being. But households that install Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) in order to obtain savings in their electricity bill, impose an external cost on other customers. At scale, their actions can lead to higher electricity tariffs for utility customers and, in the extreme case, a utility death spiral. In this paper, we propose a market mechanism that may ameliorate this potential distortion based on the creation of a market for risk. Utilities would provide reliability insurance services to households to protect them against the failure of their own DER systems. Creating such an insurance market would allow customers to choose a premium according to their preference for reliability. It could also limit the potential utility death spiral efficiently, as the path would be driven by market mechanisms that arise after reassigning property rights and liabilities between utilities and their customers.

November 26, 2018
Can Adoption of Rooftop Solar PV Panels Trigger a Utility Death Spiral?

Can Adoption of Rooftop Solar PV Panels Trigger a Utility Death Spiral?

The growing penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar and wind power is causing major changes in the electricity market. One key concern is that existing tariffs incentivize ‘free riding’ behavior by households, which leads to a cycle of rising electricity prices and DER adoption, thereby eroding utility revenues and start a death spiral. We developed a model using data from two cities in the U.S. to explore this issue.

May 15, 2016
Abu Dhabi Electricity Sector – Features, Challenges and Opportunities for Market Integration

Abu Dhabi Electricity Sector – Features, Challenges and Opportunities for Market Integration

The emirate of Abu Dhabi was the first in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to design and implement reforms aimed at moving away from a wholly government-owned vertically-integrated electricity market structure. From 1998, Abu Dhabi introduced several policy, legislative, structural and institutional reforms to its electricity sector and the related water desalination industry. This analysis discusses reform initiatives, restructuring activities and key market players as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with increased participation in regional electricity trading. Key features of the emirate’s electricity market and challenges and opportunities associated with cross-border electricity trading include: Maintaining economically competitive self-sufficiency in power. Reducing the cost of electricity procurement by using regional interconnections is thus an emerging driver for market integration. With lower peak demand growth projections and the commissioning of a 5.6 gigawatt nuclear power plant, Abu Dhabi’s electricity sector is likely to produce larger power surpluses, encouraging cross-border electricity trading opportunities. The current single-buyer model provides limited ‘implicit’ competition in the procurement of bulk supply. There is little or no pressure on power generators to compete with others in day-to-day operations. Power trading prospects are also hampered by the lack of volume- and time-specific marginal costs. Abu Dhabi’s electricity and water producers do not receive explicit fuel subsidies. However, electricity tariffs are still heavily subsidized for many residential consumers. Abu Dhabi is exploring several options to further liberalize its electricity market. Electricity trading is likely to be recognized as a separate licensed activity, which is expected to give fresh impetus to electricity trading within Abu Dhabi, across the United Arab Emirates and throughout the Gulf region. The paper is part of a KAPSARC research project to develop insights that can facilitate the creation of a well-functioning integrated electricity market among members of the GCC and wider Middle East and North Africa region and to suggest potential enablers that could help to fill existing knowledge gaps for policymakers in the region and to facilitate ongoing efforts toward regional electricity market integration.

March 3, 2019

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