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Driven by energy


As a boy growing up in the North of Scotland, energy guru David Anderson had little experience of power supply until he was eight years old.

'We had paraffin lamps for light and cooked on an open fire until electricity first arrived in our area', says Anderson.

'I remember when the pylons came within a few 100m of our house, but we still didn't have electricity in our home, ' he recalls.

As pylons popped up across the Scottish countryside, Anderson's interest in energy supply grew.

After graduating with a civil engineering degree from Aberdeen University in 1970, Anderson went on to design power stations at Peterhead and Hunstanton before joining the Scottish Electricity board (now Scottish Power).

'I always wanted to be in the electricity industry and build big things - power stations were as big as they got, ' he explains.

Anderson's career then moved on - to power transmission in Northern Ireland and overseeing a project to connect English and Scottish power lines.

His experience of UK energy supply has spanned 35 years, but he admits that in the last 10 years he has had 'nothing to do with civil engineering'.

Anderson is now back at Scottish Power as energy management business transformations director, in charge of a £3bn annual turnover business trading electricity and gas to 4.7M customers in the UK. He is also programme director of British Electricity Trading & Transmission Arrangements (BETTA) whose objective is to introduce wholesale electricity trading and transmission arrangements for Britain to encourage competitive markets to develop.

But Anderson is best known for his work with the ICE energy board, especially after last year's State of the Nation report which focussed on the UK's dwindling energy resources. With a broad understanding of the whole energy market in the UK, he has given evidence to the Commons energy select committee, contributed to television and radio news and even taken part in television documentaries.

Anderson's willingness to contribute to media projects has helped raise the profile of the ICE, civil engineering and the biggest issues facing the energy industry.

The facts roll off his tongue:

'Oil and gas reserves are running out. Currently, 40% of our electricity is from gas.

By 2020, this will have to rise to 70% of which 90% will come from abroad from countries like Norway - which will itself import gas - and Russia'.

He fears that if Britain is at the end of the gas supply chain, the supply may not be reliable. Anderson is therefore a staunch supporter of getting energy from diverse sources such as wind, tidal, wave and even nuclear. 'No single fuel source should dominate, ' he says.

Anderson has conveyed his views in over 40 television interviews and now works with producers advising them on the energy hot topics of the future.

The electricity blackouts in the UK and US has meant that Anderson's opinion is sought by media in both countries. His next television project involves working with Fox TV in December on the cause of last year's US blackout.

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