Energy is vital for our everyday needs, it is one of the largest household costs, it is core to our economic recovery – but rarely has it been the focus of political and media attention.
Straight after the 2010 election, David Cameron came to the department of energy and climate change to set our mission. We had to deliver new investment to keep the lights on, we had to respond to consumers’ concerns about prices and, of course, we had to be the greenest government ever.
It was a mission that showed the prime minister “got” energy. He knew that you can’t have energy security without renewables, that you can’t keep the lights on without a step change in investment, but that there are limits to what consumers would, or could, pay. For the first time in years, the UK would have an energy policy.
That meant getting away from the sterile debate that you were only pro-consumer if you were against the energy companies and vice versa. The reality is different. As old plants close, we need twice as much investment in replacement plants this decade as Labour achieved in the last. Drive investors away and in a few years supply won’t meet demand, forcing prices up and businesses into shutdown.