Not being an experienced observer of the political machine at work hasn’t deterred me from mulling over what the first few weeks of a new Government mean for energy. Amber Rudd MP, our new Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, blogged on 27 May 2015; what did she say?
It might be more productive to observe first what was not said; here are my top three:
- No ‘industry wide consultation’ to deal with the march of the Trilemma and its conundrums; of course, it’s still lurking at the top of the blog but moving nearly towards something a power engineer can understand (see below)
- No ‘prize freeze’ and subsequent industry meltdown (not a political comment by the way)
- No ‘new Ofgem’ – the toothless regulator is to stay
This is progress verging on stability and a chance to get on with some real work rather than wade through another 300 page consultation paper. Labour’s prize freeze would have been a big distraction, so all good on that front. No new Ofgem, never going to work that one; it’s like sewing Hydra’s teeth.
So, we are going to focus on the famous three: lights on, low bills and, magically, a deal on climate change. I still don’t get why anyone still believes this nonsense. Why not just go back to what the energy industry has always done and something it understands: delivering a least cost energy system that meets the legislation of the day and the expected constraints of the future. This doesn’t say ‘low’ bills, rather it implies lower than they might otherwise have been – quite different.
Other policies are as expected: an oil & gas regulator empowered to deliver shale gas (and oil?) and a new bill to give local people a greater say (i.e. ‘no’) on wind farm applications. There is a clear message on the science: ‘Man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats this country and the world faces’, followed by a reminder that the EU has an opportunity to prove (or otherwise) its worth at the Paris talks this December.
Rather encouragingly for our industry is the parting thought of Amber Rudd’s blog: ‘We are leading the way in clean technology and innovation, creating new jobs and helping to power our economic recovery’. Jolly good show!