And the crowd chanted, “You don’t know what you’re doing”

26th Mar 2018


I hate this time of year. I know it’s Spring, weather warming and all that, but as Easter draws near, my footy team are usually involved in a relegation battle – this time to stay in the Championship (Division Two for my generation). And yes, we’ve got through a fair number of managers this season, the crowds increasingly chanting “You don’t know what you’re doing” towards the Board, the managers, and the players.

You could and should say the same about the BEIS approach to energy policy, particularly heat. BUT, and it’s a big but, this time it isn’t a criticism but a compliment. BEIS officials have produced a “call for evidence” regarding heat policy and I for one am glad they have.

It rightly recognises that BEIS do not have all the answers to heat decarbonisation. That’s a vast improvement from the “all electric” policy they have been spouting for the past few years. So industry should applaud this honesty and engage. We should show BEIS the means to help reduce carbon emissions whilst keeping bills down.

Now my inbox and Twitter feed are full of “experts” who always have the answer. When you scratch beneath the surface they aren’t experts, they are “specialists” and there are differences. Specialists usually have a vested interest – research grants, sales, consultancy fees – and while they are useful there are not experts.

What BEIS will do is listen to experts, specialists and they will have to make a judgement call where evidence submitted conflicts. The bottom line is that the current government are fixated with energy costs – for consumers that’s good. Why else are they pushing an energy price cap? So whatever options are put forward, minimising costs will be key. That’s why decarbonising the gas grid is a no-brainer. That’s why projects like HyDeploy are so important. That’s also why Ofgem is right to recognise the importance of innovation for the future of a decarbonised heat policy. If only keeping my footy team from being relegated was this easy.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CE