Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160-165)|
MP, SIR BRIAN
24 APRIL 2006
Q160 Chairman: Alan, can you give
us some idea of a timescale for that?
Alan Johnson: David, you know
timescales better than I do, I think we are talking about the
Professor Sir David King: If I
can answer it a bit more fully. The Energy Research Partnership,
which I co-chair with Paul Golby, who is the Chief Executive of
E.ON UK, is the body that began this notion of setting up a research
laboratory for energy technologies, pulling together public and
private finance so that we could cover the full spectrum from
research through development through demonstration right out to
the actual implementation. The Research Council end, of course,
funding the first part of that and industry tending to pick up
as it goes out to deployment. The National Institute for Energy
Technology is very much in an early phase. We had the first meeting
today, pulling together the four private sector partners with
the government partners involved, Sir Keith was there as well,
and we are fleshing out what this body will look like. I would
very much hope that before the summer recess we will be moving
forward with a much clearer idea of how this partnership will
work. I think all of us believe that this is a major step forward
for the UK in terms of energy research and technology and that
it will give us an edge in Europe over all of our competitors.
The potential is enormous and we therefore have to work hard to
see that we realise the potential.
Q161 Chairman: Have you got a budget
Professor Sir David King: The
budget is what was referred to by the Chancellor in his Statement.
I think we would hope to be talking about sums in the region of
£50-100 million a year.
Q162 Bob Spink: It is well recognised
that energy is a subject of growing importance and public awareness
from the cost, the security of supply, particularly from the climate
change angles. Do any of you think that it is now high time that
the House of Commons had its own dedicated energy minister?
Alan Johnson: It is back to the
machinery of government. I do not think that, Mr Spink. Once again,
we have been here before.
Q163 Chairman: Just a yes or no answer
will do us.
Alan Johnson: No, I do not, Mr
Q164 Bob Spink: Sir David has had
a lot to say on energy recently, very exciting announcements.
What do you think?
Professor Sir David King: For
once I am not going to make an exciting announcement. We are in
the middle of the Energy Review, the Stern Review and we will
have the Quorum Report shortly, and I would not want to prejudge
this. I would want to say that energy is a critically important
problem for government to face up to. I understand fully where
your question is coming from.
Q165 Bob Spink: I am delighted with
that answer, Chairman.
Sir Brian Bender: Personally,
I would deeply regret it if a Department of Energy was set up,
which I guess underlies the question, which separated responsibilities
for energy from responsibilities of business. This last winter
showed the crucial importance of the link between the supply of
energy, the cost of energy and the cost to business. I would be
disappointed if that link was broken.
Professor Sir David King: If you
were looking for a re-alignment, you would want to be looking
at energy, environment and transport. In a way, unless you took
a much more radical step than the one you are suggesting, I would
not tinker with energy and the DTI.
Alan Johnson: We are quite willing
to take the environment
Chairman: The final comment is, "Chief
Scientist adviser urges Government to include transport and environment".
On that note, can I thank you very much indeed, Secretary of State,
and thank you very much indeed gentleman for a very interesting
and entertaining one and a half hours.