Skills vital to keeping the lights on

Skills vital to keeping the lights on, warns Prospect

The lights will go out in the UK unless urgent action is taken to embed an integrated energy policy that encourages investment in skills as well as infrastructure, energy union Prospect has warned.

  • 18 Nov 2015

On behalf of 22,000 energy professionals, the union is calling on the energy secretary to add a fourth pillar to the traditional energy trilemma of price, security, and decarbonisation, to ensure the UK has the skills to tackle its own energy dilemmas and be able to export that knowledge globally.

Deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “An integrated energy policy that enables business to invest securely in plant, and attracts individuals to build careers within the energy sector, is vital if we are to maintain the reliability of our energy supplies.

“The recent perfect storm of power station closures, redundancies within network operators and slow progress towards the development and deployment of new technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), means we are at the tipping point of an energy crisis.

“Securing new investors is only part of the solution for the UK. Without the skills of our members, Britain faces a less secure, less reliable and a less sustainable energy future.

“We are urging Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to focus on promoting a strategic long-term investment policy that provides:

  • firm signals to investors to provide confidence consistent with the new infrastructure commission
  • a diversity of fuel sources and better integration of peaking plant and renewables
  • support to build and integrate new technology, including nuclear, coal CCS, renewables and energy storage, and small-scale local combined heat and power schemes
  • strategic planning between generation and transmission to ensure a fully functioning grid
  • recognition that competition for energy investment is global while guaranteeing international collaboration does not compromise the sovereignty of the national assets or employees terms and conditions
  • investment in people with equal weighting between skills, research and development and career pathways from old to new technologies, along with policy to back regional centres of energy excellence so Britain can export our skills to the world.