Masterminding the energy debate

What risks and opportunities does our new energy landscape present for business? Will the National Infrastructure Plan make investing in energy infrastructure affordable? How can businesses use that investment to benefit their customers? And what should energy suppliers be doing to help businesses meet these challenges?

We’re all facing a lot of tough questions at the moment. So I’m extremely pleased that John Humphrys, of Today programme and Mastermind fame, will host this year’s Talk Power Conference next week.

Who better to get to the heart of the energy and infrastructure debate just as the CBI finds that business leaders’ biggest infrastructure concern is the future of the UK’s energy supply – for the first time even more so than transport.

In their 2013 infrastructure survey report the CBI found that two thirds of businesses surveyed are worried about the speed of infrastructure delivery, believing that positive infrastructure policy announcements will not translate into delivery on the ground and could undermine the return to sustainable growth. This echoes the opinion of letstalkpower readers. In a recent poll, four out of five thought that the £8.5bn invested in energy infrastructure in 2011/12 was a drop in the ocean.

So I’m pleased to announce that starting our conference is our Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz, who will speak about how the framework for investment must be right for energy customers as well as investors.  He will also address the topical issue of restoring customers’ trust in the energy industry.

Vincent will be followed by Sir Richard Lambert, a former Director General of the CBI, Editor of The Financial Times, and more recently an adviser to the Boards of several businesses. Sir Richard will give his views on the speed of investment in infrastructure and its impact on the recovery.

Network Rail is one company making major infrastructure investments. Network Rail’s Finance Director, Patrick Butcher, will discuss CrossRail, High Speed 2, the rail electrification and station upgrade programme crucial to helping theUKeconomy get back on its feet.

Construction firms such as Balfour Beatty are tasked with delivering on those investments. The final speaker in our hat-trick is Andrew McNaughton, Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty. Addressing how the infrastructure investment will underpin economic recovery in the UK, he’ll share his views from the frontline of one of the world’s largest global construction businesses.

You can have your say too as they’ll all be taking questions from the floor in a panel discussion. Though if anyone can come up with tougher questions than the panel chair – John Humphrys – I’ll be very impressed!

If you haven’t already signed up to what’s sure to be an unmissable event, please register by Friday 4 October.

Posted by Sid Cox

Sid Cox is the Director of B2B at EDF Energy. With over 20 years' experience in the international energy industry, Sid brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.