When the wind blows: Newgate renewable energy breakfast with the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

gavin-devine_newgateYesterday we hosted a roundtable breakfast at the Cinnamon Club in Westminster for the renewable energy sector attended by Iain Wright MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, and by other members of the Committee and its staff.  Our guests included industry representatives from right across the renewables sector.

The discussion over croissants and coffee was lively.  There is clearly great confidence that with the right policy support the UK can not only meet its climate commitments but also build expertise that can be exported around the world.  And some clear asks emerged, particularly around grid connections, improved transport and other infrastructure links, and the need to upweight skills.

Above all, everyone around the table called for greater and more long-term policy certainty.  As was pointed out, the UK is now on its third Government in less than two years (and it now seems certain we will see the fourth before 24 months is up), and every change of regime, every abrupt change in energy policy, risks undermining investor confidence.  Setting a clear direction for the sector for the next 15 years was the strongest demand made of the politicians present.

Many thanks to Iain, to Amanda Milling MP and Michelle Thomson MP for joining us and for being so open and engaging.  The new Committee has an extensive – if not dauntingly large – brief, but it seems determined to tackle it consensually, pragmatically and with enthusiasm.  It also seems to be very willing to listen to outside views.  Refreshing to see.

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