While Labour Leader Ed Miliband will be hoping people think of ‘One Nation’ as his party’s slogan from the conference, the energy industry will be quite happy to keep hold of the idea of ‘Rebuilding Britain’, in a slightly more literal sense than perhaps the Party’s policy guru’s might have meant.
The contrast from the previous week’s Liberal Democrats when it came to energy was a much clearer focus on the opportunities of energy infrastructure than the challenge of climate change. This is not to say it wasn’t considered a priority, although some commentators highlighted its absence from Ed’s rousing speech, but that it was seen as a challenge that also could deliver positivity to the nation – most importantly our economy and jobs.
Speaking to our fringe event, Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex highlighted the focus for growth saying, “We should never underestimate the economic boost from investment and jobs from work like this.” And while the challenge is climate change, “green jobs and energy jobs are skilled jobs and they are very valuable.”
At a number of fringes he and his Shadow Secretary of State Caroline Flint emphasised the need for investment and the economic boost from it, but the cost to the consumer remained the key factor in all of this. The solution to that balance? Innovation.
Innovation and smart technologies have so far scored 2 out of 2 for the party conferences as they are championed as one of the best solutions to an affordable energy future. As the Low Carbon Networks Fund conference prepares to meet in Cardiff later this month, we’re all hoping for a commitment from the Conservatives next week. With all parties agreed, perhaps the early adoption of effective smart technologies may be possible? But it is likely more political divisive issues will prevail.