Yesterday’s Energy Exhibition and Conference in Birmingham was opened by former Conservative MP (economic secretary to the Treasury) and newly-appointed CEO of energy sector trade association Energy UK Angela Knight.
Knight warned delegates energy prices would increase over the next few years and that investors need certainty if they are going to put money towards greener energy.
Speaking about the Energy Reform Bill
which is due to be discussed in Parliament this autumn, Knight emphasised the need for an “honest debate” and UK policies where risks and returns of investment in renewable energy resources are understood by investors.
She also expressed concern that relationships between buyers and sellers were not as strong as they previously had been and that there needs to be a clear regulatory regime.
But Knight warned: “The bill that goes into Parliament is never what comes out the other end,” and said that we should “never underestimate the power of the Treasury”. “We are in for a long haul,” she added.
She highlighted the importance of an open market for industry to compete against each other and the rest of the world if businesses are to tackle rising energy costs.
Following her presentation, Knight was bombarded with questions from the audience about her thoughts on the recent cabinet reshuffle, to which her view was that it signalled government “going back to normal”, and such change was a regular feature of government. As long as government policy continues in the same direction, Knight maintained there would be no big transformation, despite concerns raised by the audience about the replacement of energy minister Charles Hendry with John Hayes.