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Engineers to scrutinise energy reform plan

The ICE said it was to scrutinise the draft Energy Bill to assess its fitness for purpose

The bill was unveiled by energy secretary Ed Davey yesterday. It bill seeks to secure a low-carbon future for the UK by investing in a new generation of nuclear power stations, the creation of new gas-fired power stations, and of large-scale renewable plants. It puts in place measures to attract the £110 billion investment which is needed to replace current generating capacity and upgrade the grid by 2020, thereby ensuring that the UK can meet its requirement for secure and flexible supplies of energy, while meeting its carbon targets.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock welcomed the publication but warned: “The Bill marks an important step towards meeting the UK’s three-fold energy challenge of sustainability, security and affordability. Engineers know that delivering any major ‘first of a kind’ project is extremely challenging and requires a high degree of flexibility; in contrast the proposed market reform mechanisms depend on complex interactions of regulation and processes, leaving little margin for error.

“Success will be determined by the practical application of what government is trying to achieve. The ICE will be scrutinising the bill over the coming weeks to assess its fitness-for-purpose from a practitioners perspective,” he said.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) also welcomed the publication but also warned other issues still needed addressing to attract investors.

“This bill is only one part of a longer process and there remain challenges to the delivery of new generation capacity. It is vital that steps are taken to ensure a streamlined planning process for power-related infrastructure, that projected skills needs are addressed, and that industry retains its confidence - all of which impact on its capacity to deliver such a fundamental upgrade to the nation’s energy sources,” said CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner.

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