The ICE has called for urgent action to avoid the lights going out in the future, following recent reports on the seriousness of the energy crisis facing the UK.
Industry regulator Ofgem last week estimated that £200bn investment is needed to secure supplies and meet carbon targets (News last week). This could mean rises of up to 60% in energy prices for the consumer.
The ICE has been calling for action to address the energy crisis since 2003. ICE director general Tom Foulkes said Ofgem had rightly identified the gravity of the energy crisis facing the UK.
“Energy is not a luxury, it is a must, so we need to minimise the public’s exposure to price rises. Part of the solution will be changing public attitudes.”
Tom Foulkes, ICE
“Today’s energy network is ageing and doesn’t have capacity to meet current or future demands. However, those involved in industry and government have known this for some time. The real question is, where is the money going to come from to fix the problem?”
He continued: “Energy is not a luxury, it is a must, so we need to minimise the public’s exposure to price rises as much as possible. Part of the solution will be changing public attitudes to energy consumption, as well as providing incentives to energy companies to encourage energy efficiency.”
However, finding alternative funding models for infrastructure projects is key.
An infrastructure bank, underwriting key infrastructure projects at borrowing rates that take advantage of government’s strong credit rating, could reduce costs for energy companies building the much needed infrastructure, in turn reducing the cost passed on to the consumer.