On the 25th June 2013, Berwick Partners along with Odgers Berndtson and Odgers Interim hosted their bi-annual Energy Sector event. The topic for this gathering was;‘The Impact of the UKs Physical Infrastructure – Is the Market Fit for Purpose’.
The evening was well attended and brought together business leaders and innovators from across the sector, including both established and emerging businesses. The guest list was further emboldened by commercial leaders from all parts of the Utility Providers, Vendors, Regulators and Venture Capitalists.
Our panel of speakers on this occasion gave us access to some diverse and valuable perspectives on the market. They were; Charles Hendry MP, Duncan Botting of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Neil Robertson, CEO for the Energy and Utilities Skills Group. With each speaker pre-eminent in their field, and with passionate and informed perspectives, it was extremely interesting to hear the different views and thoughts on the challenges that the UK faces in creating a fit for purpose infrastructure.
And so to the debate…at the heart of discussion was a simple question of how can we avoid a future of ‘brownouts’? The UK is an extraordinary country for innovation; our universities and businesses are at the forefront of developing new technologies. However, these ideas need to be commercialised and invested in if we are to move forward. Government needs to create ‘levers’ to stimulate investment in energy, there is a need for certainty and longevity. Legislation should be pulled together to transcend changes and provide investors with more confidence and certainty. The UK is seen as risk adverse which needs to change. Therefore, ownership is imperative - who is responsible for driving change? Government or the Private Sector?
As you may imagine, these perspectives sparked a lively debate which covered a lot of ground. Ought we take the ‘communist’ attitude of mandated state ownership to upgrade the grid, or focus upon the big picture implications of not investing in the ‘here and now’ skill shortages, or address the lack of communications and PR within the energy industry. Much food for thought.
It is clear to see that there is a critical need for significant investment in new and intelligent energy infrastructure. And while there was a range of competing views shared across a wide range of stakeholders right across the energy supply chain, all agreed that the UK must start to make and deliver substantive changes.
The evening provided another great opportunity to share thoughts, expand networks and build the collaborative relationships that are needed between the critical parties in this market. We look forward to the next Energy event in the Autumn.
Amy Speake is a Consultant within the Berwick Partners EMI Practice specialising in the Energy Sector.