Hendry backs networks’ vital role in energy future

28 May 2010

Hendry backs networks’ vital role in energy future

Energy minister Charles Hendry yesterday marked his first speech in office with resounding support for ENA member companies. Networks, he said, would be "absolutely integral" to meeting the future challenges in electricity and gas and "making the UK the most attractive place in Europe to invest in energy."

Speaking at ENA’s Well Connected event in the House of Commons, Mr Hendry pledged that the Government would back the industry in its efforts to deliver the radical measures anticipated to curb climate change and secure future energy supplies. "In planning, we are determined to move any obstacles out of the way," he said.

Measures he focused on included the roll-out of smart meters where he said ENA had a "crucial role". He backed ENA’s position in emphasising that the smart metering technology deployed in the roll-out should open the way to the greater control of energy supply and use offered by smart grids. "Smart meters should be seen as the key to smart grids which will be vital if we are to manage demand effectively," Mr Hendry said.

"They will be essential to the development of electric vehicles – we have got to decarbonise road transport," he added.

The new Energy Minister highlighted his long-established relationship with ENA. He went on to say that since joining the Department of the Energy and Climate Change (DECC) he had been particularly impressed with the work of ENA’s Energy Network Futures Group. The group has worked with DECC in defining the challenges ahead in energy and exploring the options for meeting them.

Mr Hendry said the new Government would seek to ensure the UK could attract vital investment in energy infrastructure. He warned that a shortfall in the estimated £200 billion in investment needed could jeopardise the UK’s security of supply: "If we only get half [of the £200 billion] the lights could still go off".

ENA chief executive, David Smith, said: "The UK energy sector is poised for a degree of change that it hasn’t seen for more than fifty years. The pace and direction of future changes are yet to emerge but I can predict ENA members will play a central part in bringing them on."

Notes for editors

Energy Networks Association is funded by the UK’s electricity and gas transmission and distribution companies. Its members and associates are owners and operators of energy networks in the UK and Ireland. For further information, go to www.energynetworks.org