Memorandum from the Chartered Institution
of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental
Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body representing
managers, and other professionals, who are responsible for the
stewardship of environmental assets. CIWEM's agreed purpose is
to develop and promote the better and integrated management of
the environment; to foster a better understanding of water and
environmental issues and to enhance the quality of people's lives.
This is achieved through CIWEM's Royal Charter; education, training
and development; dissemination of information; conferences and
events; research and publications; contact with government, agencies
and other bodies; partnerships with other organisations, and the
publication of Policy Position Statements (PPS).
CIWEM welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence
to the Sustainable Energy Inquiry. The Institution is pleased
to offer this text as CIWEM's contribution to the Committee's
Inquiry and we would be pleased to give oral evidence if invited
to do so.
CIWEM supports the overall vision
of the Energy Review of a low carbon energy future for the UK.
Whilst the pathway to this future will be very demanding, particularly
for the timescales suggested in the Review, CIWEM believes that
it is achievablebut only if sufficient resources, commitment
and consensus are given to this Vision by the whole of the UK.
CIWEM considers that a single co-ordinating
body for Sustainable Energy is vital to achieve a low carbon energy
future. There are already numerous initiatives, policies and legislation
which promote the key steps to this low carbon future, such as
energy efficiency and increased renewables. However, a lack of
awareness and absence of urgency means that take-up and implementation
have been very low to date. In addition, there are a number of
government policies relating to energy which are in conflict.
NETA and renewables is a prime example but there are many others.
The key barrier to further immediate
progress in sustainable energy is not so much a lack of initiatives
and policiesit is a lack of awareness and a lack of consistency.
CIWEM therefore welcomes the proposal for a Sustainable Energy
Policy Unit in the short term but considers that a more overarching
co-ordinating energy body is essential in the longer term. Clearly
all the strands of UK energy use (including transport, electricity,
heating, industrial processes and domestic) must be tackled in
a coherent way. However, responsibilities for planning and policies
on these energy sectors are currently spread across a very wide
range of government departments with very little co-ordination.
The Review does have some welcome suggestions for the longer term
management of energy policy and these should be developed further
for detailed debate.
A low carbon energy future will require
all energy sources, not just electricity, to switch to sustainable
forms. CIWEM therefore strongly supports measures to innovate
in a wide range of energy technologies. Pilot schemes will be
an important part of this and an Energy Research Centre would
be a very useful mechanism for promoting innovation. The aim should
not be to "spot winners" but to accelerate the market
entry of those technologies that are viable.
CIWEM believes that UK energy policy
needs to take account of European and world energy policy and
strategies. There is an opportunity for greater engagement by
the UK in these fora.
CIWEM has greater concerns than those
expressed in the Review over the possibility of the UK being heavily
reliant on gas for an interim period whilst renewables expand.
The world gas market has, and is likely to have, a limited number
of major market suppliers whose stability is doubtful. Security
is a major concern for gas, more so than other fuel supplies.
CIWEM believes that the future role of gas needs further careful
consideration before the UK is committed to one imported fuel
for the majority of electricity and heating.
CIWEM is also concerned that a clearer
decision needs to be made on the future role of nuclear power.
One further concern of CIWEM on the
energy mix is the future of UK coal-fired generation in the medium
term. Coal currently provides a vital role in meeting peak electrical
demands in a flexible, low cost way. With the Large Combustion
Plant Directive in place and other continuing environmental pressures,
the capacity of UK coal-fired power stations is likely to have
reduced to a very minor role by 2015 as ageing stations are closed
and no significant new build is envisaged. Closures could accelerate
even faster if further environmental constraints are implemented
in future years. The Review does not adequately address what interim
sources will take up this "peak supply" role of coal
whilst energy efficiency and renewables are still being expanded.
These peak periods have a key role in determining electricity
prices and overall capacity.
Finally, as noted above, CIWEM believes
that this energy Vision is only achievable if sufficient resources,
commitment and consensus are provided by the whole of the UKthat
is, all the stakeholders in UK energy. All energy sectors and
particularly the general public must be engaged in debateand
the first step is to achieve a national awareness that a fundamental
decision must be made about the energy future. At present, there
is no perception that there is a looming energy decisionexcept
perhaps customers "feeling" that prices are too high.
All the environmental evidence points in the opposite direction,
but there is no awareness of this as a national issue, nor of
the possibility that there may be unavoidable tradeoffs in reaching
a sustainable energy future.
CIWEM strongly supports the need for a national
public debate about sustainable energy, including the roles of
nuclear power and renewables. However, the challenge presented
in engaging the UK in such a debate should not be underestimated.
The debate must be real and provokingthe current initiatives
to stimulate discussion on the future NHS are comparable to what
is needed for energy. Anything less will simply defer the real
national debate to a later date, when time and options for the
UK will be reduced.
We hope that this evidence is helpful. If you
wish us to expand upon, or clarify, any of the points we have
raised, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We confirm that CIWEM would be delighted to
give oral evidence to the Committee if invited to do so.