Outgoing National Grid boss Steve Holliday has warned that the transition to a demand-driven energy system will not be smooth.
Speaking at a Green Alliance forum, Holliday said that the future energy system is about demand yet much of the current policy focus is on supply. He said there was a danger of becoming “stuck in the past”.
While the National Infrastructure Commission has recommended policy focus on smarter energy systems to avoid increasing bills with excess capacity, Holliday said the scale of change should not be underestimated.
“People use different terms to describe change in energy system; transition, transformation. Those terms suggest a smooth change. It is not. I use revolution.”
However, Holliday also said fossil fuels would remain a key part of the generation mix for the foreseeable future and called for UK to focus investment on carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Speaking alongside Holliday, Lord Mandelson said Treasury, which axed a long-promised £1bn fund for CCS development last November, had never fully bought in to the technology.
He also used the stage to call for the UK to remain in the EU ahead of the referendum.
Green Alliance hosted the event to mark the launch of its latest report, which warns that energy policy u-turns are jeopardising UK low carbon infrastructure investment.
National Grid is the principle sponsor of a report and conference The Energyst is producing on demand-side response (DSR). We need businesses’ views on demand-side response – both positive and negative – for the research component of the report. Please take this short survey. The report will be launched at the DSR Event on 8 September in London. There are some remaining free places for businesses. Reserve your seat here.