That’s the verdict from Kevin Dibble, Divisional CEO of Energy Supply at ENGIE UK & Ireland, who spoke to future Net Zero Founder Sumit Bose following Boris Johnson’s recent speech at the virtual Conservative Party conference, in which he promised to power every UK home with offshore wind by 2030.
He said it was vital to take action on areas of the sector such as energy efficiency, the electric vehicle (EV) rollout, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, hydrogen and nuclear.
The energy boss welcomed Boris Johnson’s pledges and said: “Hopefully this will all come together in a plan for the sixth budget and around the COP26 discussions.”
He added that he looks forward to the ‘long-awaited’ energy white paper which “will address how some of these things will be put in place” and noted that energy demand is now creeping back up as the economy sets out on the path to recovery – Mr Dibble said the recovery is continuing despite the new wave of local lockdowns, which are ‘very different’ to the first wave.
Talking about the rise in consumption, he said: “It remains to be seen clearly how this pans out and whether any more radical measures might be needed but it is relatively encouraging to see that continue – it’s going to be an interesting winter, but demand is coming back.”
He acknowledged the period of low demand combined with high renewable generation tested the operation of the system but said it had brought a range of benefits – he said: “Keeping the lights on and making sure there is sufficient flexibility there, at times that has been expensive for the system operator to maintain because that has been a very extreme situation, but that is a window into the future as to how the system is going to be.”
Suggesting that such challenges are likely to continue over time as the energy system becomes increasingly penetrated with renewables, he said National Grid gained valuable experience from the period of disruption and emphasised that thanks to good monitoring, collaboration amongst everyone in the industry and a number of tweaks from the regulator and government, possibly “catastrophic” impacts were successfully avoided.