Although energy headlines from the Liberal Democrat Conference focused on their revised stance on nuclear as part of a low carbon mix – and a notable challenge on a strike price from Davey that EDF had put £1bn into Hinkley Point C already “so have more to lose from walking away from the table” – there was still plenty to discuss on the networks side.
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]
This week talking to Lord Jenkin at the launch of Smarter Networks Portal, the first of its kind, illustrated in stark relief the new solutions a smarter network offers to solve the problems that Patrick Jenkin had to grapple with all those years ago. Let us not underestimate its impact - it brought down a government back then.
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.
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.
What were we to make of it? A senior Minister going apparently off message whilst quoting incomprehensible Austrian philosophers and a Secretary of State allegedly gagging his Departmental Ministerial colleague. Welcome to energy policy in the autumn of 2012.
You’d expect the most telling comment on the Government’s position on energy in Brighton last week to come from their Secretary of State Ed Davey. But, although he delivered countless confident fringe moments, administered an albeit small dose of much-needed confidence to the industry and investors, and reassured us with a recognition of balance; he was somehow slightly upstaged by a quiet and easily missed comment from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
Writing on Politic Homes, Ed Davey is right to highlight the future role for gas and to not close the door of optionality for our energy mix.
When Nigel Lawson announces his satisfaction with where the Government was going, is a Government described by its leader as “the greenest government ever” suddenly losing its green hue?