Tom Burke speaks at The Prospect Energy Summit. Opinion surveys consistently show there is no question that 100% renewable electricity system is desirable. But if it is to be deliverable and affordable there are four things we need to get right. The first, is to invest properly in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings to bring down the heat load and make electric space heating affordable. A recent energy research centre analysis found that currently cost effective investments in energy efficiency could save around a quarter of the energy now being used. That’s more than the government’s original 16gw nuclear programme would produce. It would cost less and could be delivered more reliably on time and budget. The second, is to ask the right policy questions. Political and media attention is still focussed on generation technology choice when the important strategic questions for electricity are about system choice. The third requirement, is that decisions on which path to pursue command both investor and public confidence. In today’s hyper-connected, information rich world, that means going well beyond a cross-party consensus, to build a real national consensus. Finally, we must develop a more mature and sophisticated idea of innovation. There is no way to get to an affordable and secure 100% renewable electricity system without innovation. We still think too narrowly about innovation as being predominantly a matter of technology. This was never true, and is even less so now. Delivering a reliable, affordable, 100% electricity system in the UK means aligning innovation in three realms: technology, especially in fields of data analytics and A.I.; finance, especially in lowering the cost of capital for infrastructure and regulation, especially of markets.
E3G 4th April 2019 read more »