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ICE calls for energy market reforms to consider practicalities of infrastructure delivery

The Government must consider how to practically deliver a new generation of low carbon energy infrastructure alongside measures to enable future investment, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has said.

In its official response to the electricity market reform consultation, the ICE said that the market reforms must complement other relevant reform processes and demand-side measures such as the planning reforms to take into consideration the wider issues associated with constructing a new generation of low carbon energy infrastructure.

ICE vice president Richard Coackley said: “While reducing the risk for investors is crucial if we are to deliver on the £200bn challenge of overhauling and decarbonising our energy sector, equally important will be facilitating the practical delivery of this infrastructure.

“There are associated issues such as skills shortages, industry capacity, the supply chain and an ongoing stop-start approach to infrastructure development that pose serious threats to the success of the reforms currently being considered. Government must recognise that even the most theoretically robust reforms to the investment environment will fail to be effective if construction is hindered by these ongoing practical issues.”

ICE identified four key areas where Government must take a lead on policy to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of the massive construction programme needed. These are the supply chain, skills and training, construction industry capacity and phasing and timing of infrastructure development. 

Coackley concluded, “Government’s role is not only to ensure the market reforms are effective in attracting long-term commitments in renewable energy projects, but also to ensure wider policy and regulation enables the construction sector to deliver efficient, timely solutions.

”We acknowledge that Government has already set in motion several programmes of work aimed at addressing these issues, but hope to see more tie up between these and the ongoing electricity reform market review.

“The challenge of overhauling our current electricity framework is daunting however with the right policy, regulatory and investment framework in place, the contribution of a successfully decarbonised system can be our legacy for generations to come.” 

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