Government must clear the way so networks can unlock success

14 May 2010

Government must clear the way so networks can unlock success

The association for Britain’s energy network operators, ENA, welcomes the appointments of Chris Huhne as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Charles Hendry as Energy Minister. Wishing them every success ENA has emphasised today the pivotal role that networks will have in enabling the UK to meet the future challenges in energy.

The following is to be attributed to David Smith, ENA Chief Executive.

"Energy is going to be one of the most challenging policy areas for the new Government. It is fundamentally important that the challenge is met successfully and ENA member companies hold the key to unlock that success.

ENA views it as vital that planning and energy policy are cleared of unnecessary obstacles. Crucial investment in networks must not be held up by uncertainty. There is no room for misguided policy or regulatory uncertainty.

Householders and businesses throughout the UK will be looking to the new administration to enable the industry to deliver secure energy supplies and to shield consumers from unnecessary costs.

There is a pressing need for low-carbon generation capacity, greater efficiency in energy consumption and security of supply. Threats to the environment and to the UK energy security arising from climate change, diminishing North Sea gas stocks and ageing power plant have all to be addressed.

ENA anticipates radical change in its members’ operations to meet the needs of a low-carbon economy. Change on the scale anticipated will need serious investment. In turn, investors will want to see clear policy. With the right legislative, regulatory and financial environment, energy networks will bring on the changes needed to preserve a secure energy supply and to protect the environment.

Our gas network sector is a world leader on many counts. For the future we must get the best out of this national asset whether through the development of renewable gas, piping of carbon dioxide emissions or creation of heat networks.

Advanced technology, such as smart metering, offers immense opportunities to give consumers control over their use of electricity. Longer term developments leading to smart grids – networks that can adapt to radical shifts in the way electricity is generated and consumed – can extend that control and its benefits. ENA has made

it clear that smart grid development must not be fettered by short-term thinking now in the specification for the roll-out of smart meters.

The electricity and gas networks are prepared and able to deliver the infrastructure needed – irrespective of the energy options taken. And there are many options: nuclear power, renewable gas, gas storage, clean coal, offshore renewable generation, household-scale power production and more. For all of them, ENA members would be central in bringing them on and delivering, in full, their benefits to consumers."