Even as the young Year 2013 begun to make its first few tentative steps our Energy Minister John Hayes was busy firing up the debate and at the same time entertaining us with his repartee. Regaling us in the House Magazine (the trade mag for Parliamentarians) about his boxing exploits and his childhood on a council estate in South London. And yet this is a politician who has also wowed the political arena with his knowledge of philosophy and his soaring rhetoric.
The ENA BlogWelcome to the new ENA blog. We want you to engage in these discussions with us so please share your comments and observations on the topics here. Through this Blog we are looking to share some of the policy areas being debated and encourage you to be part of the discussions. By representing both the electricity and gas networks we are withough prejudice to the type of energy. Our members serve one purpose - to keep our lights on, our homes warm and delivering this vital service to the businesses and industries of our economies in the most safe, reliable and affordable way. Please check back here regularly for updates, tweet about it - you can follow and reference us as @EnergyNetworks - and most importantly, engage in the debate. If you have any suggestions or wish to start a discussion of your own here then please email [email protected]
It has been a long road since ENA first advocated the desperate need for a full revision of the scrap metal law. But late last week we saw the fruition of that campaign with the passing of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill. For years we have been plagued with vicious and deadly attacks on our infrastructure – sometimes up to 20 incidents a day. And for what?
Two weeks ago, in his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced changes to the tax regime to support gas and the Gas Strategy provided for an Office of Unconventional Gas to look at enabling fracking to access shale gas. Last week Secretary of State Ed Davey followed this by granting permission for exploratory drilling of shale gas with “stringent” controls to ensure it was safe and protected the environment.
Next year will be a major year of change for Ofgem as well as the regulated industry it oversees. Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan and Chairman Lord Mogg both step down in 2013.
As ever this year has been an eventful one for energy. As we look back over the past few Christmases we see how it has gone up the agenda and exploded into the public’s consciousness. For ENA that has meant ensuring that the vital role that networks play is not lost in the great debate. That has always been our role.
The continuing ‘interesting time’ for energy has been increasingly more curious in recent weeks. We’ve seen the not so shocking revelations from Peter Lilley MP and Chris Heaton-Harris MP casting light on the Conservative’s views on the renewables and climate change policy when they were secretly filmed by Greenpeace two weeks ago. There has been the public disagreement on wind energy and renewable subsidies between Secretary of State Ed Davey and his Energy Minister John Hayes. But things really took an odd turn this weekend.
Everyone saw it coming; the shifting of personnel at the re-shuffle brought in climate change sceptics who are anti-wind. This was no coincidence that they were brought in. Hendry wasn’t moved aside to make way for younger blood.
Another year of impressive innovation and another hugely successful annual conference for the unique Low Carbon Networks Fund last week in Cardiff. Covering everything from the vital engagement with communities through to the detail and technicalities of the new technologies being deployed, the learning from the LCN Fund was startling.
We have a reality gap. A disconnect. Something of a mismatch in terms of where society says it wants consumer issues on energy to be and where those who understand these things know it will have to go to eventually to save us money and address climate change.
Yesterday saw the publication of a very individual report by the original political “blonde bombshell” Michael Heseltine. The title was ‘No stone unturned in pursuit of growth’. Which said it all really. Amongst the 87 recommendations in the Report were some that concerned energy.