It’s great for a new President to have two big hits in a single day. We launched the Energy Barometer in Parliament on 23 June at an event hosted by Neil Parish MP, recently installed as Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. A large audience filled the splendid committee rooms in the Palace of Westminster. Joan McNaughton CB HonFEI, Dr Joanne Wade FEI and myself, ably chaired by Ian Marchant FEI, summarised the findings and responded to a challenging set of questions from participants. If you have yet to take a look, the findings – www.energyinst.org/energy-barometer-2015-report – are well worth a read. It shows that the professionals who make up the Energy Institute (EI) have firm ideas about what the industry needs to do in terms of engaging with the public and passing on the torch to the next generation. But also very firm ideas about government’s role. The need for policy continuity was one of the strongest messages. When we go back to the EI College for their views next year, members will be able to express their feedback on how the new Government has performed in its first nine months – which promises to make for interesting reading!
From Parliament on to the Royal Academy of Engineering where Ian Marchant FEI chaired his final Council meeting, followed by the EI’s AGM. I was pleased to be elected President at this point – following the full and vigorous democratic processes characteristic of all professional bodies.
Then on to the second hit of my first day, the Cadman Lecture delivered by Malcolm Brinded CBE FEI, Chairman, Shell Foundation. Building on his long experience in the oil and gas sector, Malcolm distilled the energy challenge into five big “asks”: tackling the needs of the five billion people using less than a third of the world’s energy; establishing a global carbon market; accelerating energy access based on proven solutions; upping global collaboration and investment in the context of rapid urbanisation; and focusing on enterprise-based solutions, with more resources for early stage innovation. Plenty of food for thought and an engaged Q&A session that could have gone for ages. The Energy Institute at its best.
Malcolm’s lecture touched on a theme that I would like to return to during my Presidency – the need for a more holistic, systems-based approach to the energy sector. The EI took a big step forward back in 2003 with the merger of two preceding institutions. We obviously need to nurture the distinctive contributions that each part makes. But the need to reconcile energy access, security, affordability and climate compatibility poses new challenges that demand new thinking. I hope I can work closely with members and staff to take that agenda forwards.
Finally, this morning, my first meeting with Louise for the regular catch-up between the Chief Executive and the President gave me the opportunity to experience the refurbishment of the New Cavendish Street offices first-hand. It was remarkably quiet from the street, but as soon as you are through the front door the familiar scent of “builders in the house” is apparent. It’s all on track, with work forging on and staff taking it all in their stride.