Energy and Planning White Papers

23 May 2007

Energy and Planning White Papers

The Energy White Paper published today was given 'seven out of 1ten' by the Energy Networks Association. Working against a scorecard of the ten key issues that the White Papers must address, the end of term report was 'making progress, but could do better'.

Nick Goodall, Chief Executive of ENA said, ‘Networks need to be at the heart of Government energy policy, throughout this review process we have strived to ensure that the often forgotten networks are high on the agenda to ensure ongoing security of supply. It is important that the White Paper provides us with certainty and guidance to enable network companies to deliver the massive investment and new build that is needed to deliver the Governments energy objectives.

"I have set out the 10 points that we want to see in the White paper and I believe that 7 have been addressed so far, so there is some way to go to realising the objectives of the White Paper. We want the Government to address the regulatory framework so that it can deliver long term investment in the networks. There are good intentions within the White Paper, but we need to see more action."

10 points for the energy network sector:

  1. Importance of the networks must feature in all aspects of the Energy White Paper.  
  2. On generation mix we need a realistic approach to generation choices that can facilitate clear planning horizons.
  3. Planning reform is crucial to energy development and achieving security of supply.
  4. Europe must feature with strong support for the Commission’s liberalisation agenda.  
  5. Bringing the three pillars of energy policy together (security, sustainability and affordability) must be a key White Paper objective.  
  6. The need for longer-term planning and deeper investment horizons is essential. The energy sector will need to invest £bns and therefore require long term certainty on investment return.  
  7. The challenge of skills must feature with an emphasis on Government supporting more occupation based qualifications.  
  8. The role of Ofgem should be explicitly addressed with a call for the Regulator to establish greater equality between cost reduction, sustainability and investment.  
  9. Network upgrade and the timely opportunity to build more complex networks must be recognised by the Government and therefore be addressed in future price reviews.  
  10. Certainty and a stable policy environment should be secured through a carbon regime based around a robust and long term EU ETS and overseen by a UK ‘Climate Change Committee’.

Turning to the Planning White Paper, which was published on Monday, Nick said "it echoes our calls for a more streamlined, simplified and responsive planning structure. It ticks all the boxes on major infrastructure development and speeding up the process based on national priorities".

However, Nick added a caution, "the balance of energy development and the concerns of the local communities must be acknowledged in the system, failure to address this will lead to protracted and unnecessary litigation."