Rachel Anderson’s column from Northern Echo
The Government has a to do list longer than most. Admittedly its mostly in a state of paralysis at the moment so not much is getting done at all, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the list of decisions which need to be made about stuff arguably more important that Brexit isn’t going away whilst our politicians slug out some of the lesser know japes of Parliamentary convention that a written constitution would just take all the fun out of.
One of those policy priorities is around Energy. Actually, more to the point, how we are going to keep the lights on after 2024. Now it is a dry subject, or it will be when one quarter of the UK’s generation capacity goes offline and there’s no electricity to run water pumps. The UK’s energy generation capacity is aging, we are replacing some of it, but it is reliant on private sector funding and decisions on investment in Energy are not taken quickly enough i.e. now. In fairness, it is not just the can kicking ability of the current Government which has brought us to this impasse, most Governments since the early 1990s have been aware of the problem but procrastinated over the solution.
There hasn’t been a complete dearth of decision making and the North East is a big part of the jigsaw in terms of the solution to the problem. Government has given the go ahead for three new power stations on the Tees and we are at the forefront of expertise in power generation of all types. The issue has previously been that we haven’t showcased that expertise or had a serious conversation with Government about what we need from them to stay ahead.
Therefore, the Chamber is this week beginning a project in partnership with Northumbrian Water to highlight the innovative technology in power generation we have in this region, showcase what we can do but also make some asks of Government which will allow us to build on that expertise and remain a world leader. If we are to plug the looming energy gap, parts of the country like the North East will be crucial to the plan.
You never know, if we can show the rest of the UK what we are capable of, we might be able to keep the lights on in Parliament.