A few weeks later: Conservative energy policies

01 Jun 2015 | David Casale

Not being an experienced observer of the political machine at work hasn’t deterred me from  mulling  over  what  the  first  few  weeks  of  a  new  Government  mean  for  energy. Amber Rudd MP, our new Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, blogged on 27 May 2015; what did she say?

It might be more productive to observe first what was not said; here are my top three:

  • No ‘industry wide consultation’ to deal with the march of the Trilemma and its conundrums; of course, it’s  still  lurking  at  the  top  of  the  blog  but  moving  nearly  towards  something  a  power  engineer  can understand (see below)
  • No ‘prize freeze’ and subsequent industry meltdown (not a political comment by the way)
  • No ‘new Ofgem’ – the toothless regulator is to stay

This  is  progress  verging  on  stability  and  a  chance  to  get on  with  some  real  work  rather  than  wade  through another 300 page consultation paper.  Labour’s prize freeze would have been a big distraction, so all good on that front. No new Ofgem, never going to work that one; it’s like sewing Hydra’s teeth.

So, we are going to focus on the famous three: lights on, low bills and, magically, a deal on climate change.  I still don’t get why anyone still believes this nonsense.  Why not just go back to what the energy industry has always done and something it understands: delivering a least cost energy system that meets the legislation of the day and  the  expected  constraints  of the  future.    This  doesn’t  say ‘low’  bills, rather  it implies  lower  than they might otherwise have been – quite different.

(Wasted breath)

Other policies are as expected: an oil & gas regulator empowered to deliver shale gas (and oil?) and a new bill to give local people a greater say (i.e. ‘no’) on wind farm applications.  There is a clear message on the science: ‘Man-made  climate  change  is  one  of  the  most  serious  threats  this  country  and  the  world  faces’,  followed  by  a reminder that the EU has an opportunity to prove (or otherwise) its worth at the Paris talks this December.

Rather encouragingly for our industry is the parting thought of Amber Rudd’s blog: ‘We are leading the way in clean  technology  and innovation,  creating  new  jobs  and  helping to  power  our  economic  recovery’.    Jolly  good show!

David Casale



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