By Steve Shine, Anesco executive chairman
I was delighted to be asked to speak at the recent UBS Global Renewables Conference, held in London. It was a fantastic event that saw a number of high-profile speakers taking to the stage, along with various breakout meetings and debates throughout the day.
For my part, I joined a panel discussion focusing on the issue of investment in renewables and the serious challenges facing the storage industry, which have brought development to a standstill.
While it was very interesting hearing from those across industry, what the event really solidified for me was the urgent need for a single strategy, if we are to achieve our UK and global environmental objectives.
A lack of joined up thinking
There were so many speakers there, all talking from their own perspective and with many different projects and personal agendas being pushed. But what is vital, if we are to overcome the current climate emergency, is one clear strategy. That is the only way to avoid duplication and expensive mistakes, which we frankly don’t have time to be making.
Not only do we need a joined up strategy, we need someone to lead on it and make it happen. This isn’t something that can be done by National Grid, or the DNOs, or those in industry who shout the loudest to get what they want.
The UK needs to set up an independent delivery group that is fully responsible for the delivery of an agreed strategy for infrastructure, energy and environment. Working back from an agreed target, setting out the measures required and delivering them, regardless of which government is in power.
At the moment the lack of joined up policy and leadership are leading to uncertainty; uncertainty means investors – who we are relying on to fund the transition to net zero – cannot see returns and so will not invest. This leaves us stuck as we are now with the technology, the skills and the commercial will but lacking the money to deliver even relatively small levels of low carbon technology.
We need a clear strategy, delivered by a non-political organisation with a ruthless focus on achieving its targets.
There is no ‘one size fits all’
At Anesco, we have been accused of pushing these issues to feather our own nest – people look at me and say, ‘you’re just pushing batteries because that’s what you do’. But that’s not true.
We’re pushing for joined up thinking and a single strategy. Within that, renewable technologies and battery storage will play their part, yes, but we must play to the strengths of each technology to make it happen.
If we consider storage, there is no ‘one size fits all’. All forms of storage have a role to play and they shouldn’t be competing in the same space. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, which should be capitalised on.
It’s time for concise action
We’ve got to stop playing at this, it’s too important an issue to just be doing bits and pieces with no proper strategy.
We must meet our targets. That is critical for the future – and far more important than Brexit will ever be!