Matthew Bell, Director in Frontier’s Public Policy team, today spoke to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy. He discussed the role of energy systems in supporting Britain in a competitive world.
His speech focused on energy networks: gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks. He drew on the Government’s recently published Industrial Strategy which sets out the overarching vision for the UK over the coming decades: there is no doubt that a successful British economy by 2050 cannot look like the economy of 1950. Energy networks need to support this transition. In this context, Matthew highlighted the importance of price control reviews which will set the overall approach for energy networks through the 2020s. To keep the UK globally competitive in the future, networks need to be made more flexible, more responsive to consumers and less capacity constrained between now and 2030.
The many reviews of energy and sources of uncertainty for the sector do not hide the direction of travel for the energy system: a lower carbon system where demand and supply both act to balance the system. The upcoming price control reviews will determine whether energy networks are fit-for-purpose to take on the lead through the next phase of the transition. The current regulatory system will need to incorporate this destination to ensure it is serving current and future consumers.
With Christmas approaching, Matthew drew on “A Christmas Carol” to illustrate the importance of taking control over the evolution of energy networks. When the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his fate, and Scrooge sees that nobody cares about his death, he exclaims to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: “Answer me one question: are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only”. We have a choice about the future, we will be better off choosing a path that allows energy networks to support clean economic growth through to 2050.