It was a great pleasure to be invited to address the energy industry and wider stakeholders yesterday at the Utility Week Energy Summit, and to talk about the future of energy in the UK.
At a time when we are seeing periods where the contribution of coal-fired power to the National Grid falls to zero – the first time in more than 130 years – it is clear that we are entering a period of transition, and of opportunity, in the energy sector.
Having spent much of the first part of the year campaigning hard for us to leave the European Union – a time of exciting and momentous change – I am clear that there is no change to the challenges we face in solving the energy trilemma. Keeping the lights on, keeping costs down, and continuing to decarbonise.
I am fully committed to providing families and businesses with energy that is secure, affordable and clean. There is no change to our commitment to work with other countries in pursuit of these goals. Our relationships with the United States, China, India, Japan and our European friends will remain central to our efforts to attract investment, to spur innovation, and to counter the threat of climate change.
And there is no change to our commitment to a clear energy policy framework and a strong, investment-friendly economy – making the UK one of the best places in the world to live and do business.
The Government is also committed to the creation of high-quality UK jobs, throughout the energy sector. The new nuclear supply chain could support 30,000 jobs over the coming years, and the shale gas industry to create more than double that number. Firms related to low carbon goods and services were estimated to employ over 460,000 people in the UK in 2013, and there are already reports of oil and gas fabricators using their expertise to develop offshore wind projects.
As we navigate the transition of our energy system, we must continue to invest in our skills, so that our workforce can successfully adapt to whatever new conditions arise.
I am determined to ensure that a system of secure, affordable and clean energy is our lasting legacy. Read my full speech to the Energy Summit here.