The Clean Growth Strategy: Ambitious but toothless

The Clean Growth Strategy: Ambitious but toothless

Written by Kira Scharwey, Account Director, Madano Energy

Everyone seems fairly excited. The long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy has finally been published, almost a year late. And it’s getting praise more often than not, with most reviews calling it “ambitious”, despite everyone’s low expectations.

It’s definitely more ambitious than Government’s previous policies in these areas, and I welcome the rather large shift in Conservative mentality from “green crap” to truly embracing the vast opportunities around clean growth.

But is it going to help us achieve what it’s hoping to, or is it just a positive direction that will end up falling flat? And is it really “ambitious” to change a ‘plan’ to a ‘strategy’ at the last minute?

What’s missing?

As a whole, the vision is compelling. When you start looking more closely at its parts, there are some noticeable gaps, and a whole lot of repetition.

In most areas of the strategy, giving little detail on how this will all work in practice leaves a lot of room for shirking promises down the line. And in some cases, a focus on the long game, rather than aiming to benefit from being industry-leaders, is a missed opportunity.

For example, I’m pleased to see a renewed focus on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), but Government also seems to be ignoring a lot of work that has been completed to date in the UK and advocating for more research and innovation when its real barrier to deployment is financing. Plenty of caveats have been weaved in, namely, “…subject to cost reduction…” and “with the option of revising our deployment path accordingly”, which sow a seed of doubt in Government’s long-term commitment.

Onshore wind is barely mentioned in the plan, as if Government is washing their hands of it.

And not to mention that we will still be short of meeting the Fifth Carbon Budget as the Clean Growth Strategy won’t put us on track to meet our 2023-2027 legally binding emissions reduction targets.

Challenges for implementation

Considering Government has had to put so much resource and focus on Brexit, it’s not really a surprise that they haven’t had the capacity to go as far as some might have hoped. But considering it’s almost a year delayed, some sectors are still much further behind than they should be, and BEIS will hardly have more resources in the next few years to make much progress in all of these areas. Having an ambitious plan in this climate risks setting themselves up for failure.

Implications for clients

But from a client perspective, there is plenty of opportunity to help shape how this is implemented and increase its chances of success.

Organisations should be using the time between now and the Autumn Budget, as well as the release of the Industrial Strategy white paper, to share their expertise with Government and ensure their perspectives are heard. For example, around the Sector Deal for offshore wind.

As Government has made clear, there are many competing priorities for funding that will be making their case over the next few months, but there’s only so much money to go around. Most areas of the report are focused on cost reduction, so communicating well with a compelling proposition around this theme will be key.

View the UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy

Summary of key areas of the Clean Growth Strategy

Nuclear – nuclear is not a major feature of the Clean Growth Strategy, which makes no mention of technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs). Further detail on the Government’s plans for advanced nuclear technologies is expected later this year.

Renewables – the Government stresses that many types of renewable generation are able to stand without subsidy, likely an attempt to capitalise on continuing cost reductions in the sector. No new detail is provided on future support for technologies such as tidal power. Ministers seem to hold the view that innovation can continue to deliver substantial benefits across the sector.

Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) – despite CCS being back on Government’s agenda, there is likely to be concern by the Government’s focus on research and innovation, instead of providing more support for deployment and commercialisation. The Government’s failure to set out plans for transportation and storage (T&S) of carbon will also be viewed negatively.

Smart energy systems – ministers have increasingly focused on the need to deploy energy management solutions at scale in order to meet future supply and demand challenges. It is likely that much of this work will be linked to the Government’s efforts to boost uptake of electric vehicles.

Energy efficiency – it is likely that the Government’s focus on energy efficiency will be welcomed alongside wider efforts to decarbonise industry and the UK’s housing stock.

Transport – the Government’s efforts to decarbonise transport will directly affect the power sector due to the high reliance on electrification. It is likely that a significant uptake in generating capacity and energy management technology will be needed to achieve this. The Government is also focusing on developing new fuels which are less carbon intensive than existing sources. But little we didn’t know already here.

Oil and gas – no mention of fracking – a big departure from the Conservative Manifesto only a few short months ago. Damian Carrington of The Guardian says that this omission signals “the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel age”.

Green finance – although the Government makes much of its commitment to funding clean energy, it is likely to face criticism in sectors where this funding is seen as a reallocation of previously announced funding pots. In many sectors, such as CCS, it remains unclear whether specific projects will be funded from within this allocation or whether further funding will be provided in future.

Madano works with clients across the energy sector, including renewables and CCS.

Build more houses, stupid!?

Build more houses, stupid!?

Written by Dan Townshend, Research Manager in Madano’s Insights and Intelligence practice

Those working in the housing sector are unlikely to take much heart from this year’s party conferences, which were sorely lacking in substantive policy proposals to address the systemic housing crisis that exists in the UK today.

Lots of talk and not much substance.

However, one area of government policy that may be kick-starting a renaissance (whatever you may think of the policy levers or their consequences) is in the housing association sector, where HA’s are beginning to ramp up their development activity (either solo or in partnership with private sector developers).

The way that housing associations are doing this, particularly in London, is often through the development of mixed tenure developments – integrating social housing with private sale properties.

On the face of this is a sensible approach. Housing associations can gather extra funds through private sales that have been taken away as part of the government public spending cuts, while providing much needed new homes for social rent.

And yet, having worked on a number of schemes and analysed the segment carefully, we believe that three major challenges emerge from the mixed tenure development approach.

Challenge 1: Does this redefine the purpose of the modern housing association?

The first issue is about how housing associations define their purpose in this context.

Yes, of course they develop new homes so that they can continue to deliver on their foundational social purpose – but is this purpose ultimately watered-down when they feel pressure from their stakeholders simply to build more and more homes?

We know from our own research with housing associations’ key external stakeholders that they are attaching more and more importance on developing new homes, flexing their balance sheets.  Not because they can continue to deliver on their core social purpose, but because those stakeholders believe they should be ‘doing their bit’.

Is it inevitable that the more attention you put into this, the less you can give to social housing management? There is an evident tension that is being magnified in mixed tenure solutions.

Challenge 2: Finding the right buyers, in the right places?

To account for the loss in government funding, many of the homes housing associations develop are of premium quality often at the same price point as private developers.

Yet in a recent 1000 person survey of homebuyers in London, we found that the majority believe housing associations develop properties that are cheaper than those developed by private developers.

This ‘fact’ is true of both those prospective buyers with both smaller and larger budgets.

The association is so strong that even those who have recently purchased from housing associations (who we spoke with in focus groups) wrongly believed they paid less than they would have done had they purchased from a private developer.

Contrastingly, some of those with higher budgets are ignoring housing associations, even when the location and the quality may be every bit as comparable as the private sector.

All of this means that the right type of buyers are often looking in the wrong places. Those with lower budgets are looking to housing associations even though the property is no more affordable and those with higher budgets are ignoring housing associations, even though the quality of the property and setting may be spot on.

Amidst that buyer confusion, it also begs the question, where can those would-be buyers with smaller budgets go to get a foot on the home ownership ladder?

Challenge 3: Overcoming the sentiment barriers?

While the role of housing association as developer may be ramping up again and starting to gain some traction, buyer sentiment towards housing association development, and mixed use schemes in particular, continues to be beset with barriers.

Research shows that both willing purchasers and unwilling purchasers both attach negative connotations towards such developments.

The biggest concerns included not wanting to share with social housing tenants, a feeling that they were more likely to be victims of anti-social behaviour and doubts about the resale-ability of the property.

Cynics may argue that these preconceptions will just shift as these schemes become ever more the norm (what choice do you have?). A more hopeful interpretation is that the true notion of place-making and community development will come to the fore, not just as words but as real actions.

So, while we are beginning to see the revving up of the housing association development bandwagon, there remain some tricky challenges to overcome.

It is clear that in the short to medium term, housing associations do need to do more to educate and mollify homebuyers out of their negative preconceptions. We do need to start getting the right buyers looking in the right places and there remains a tension between the role as developer for private sale and delivering social rent to those whose access to the housing market remains limited.

As is often the case, it’s not as quite as simple as ‘build more houses stupid…..’

Madano works with several companies in the Built Environment sector.

Darran Messem joins Madano as Head of Transport

Darran Messem joins Madano as Head of Transport

Strategic communications consultancy Madano has hired Darran Messem as Director and head of its new Transport Practice, and as lead on their sustainable development work.

He joins from the Carbon Trust where he was Managing Director of Carbon Trust Certification and International Director. Messem is also Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a membership and delivery organisation sponsored by the UK Department for Transport.

Transport and sustainable development are two areas of growing complexity and significance for many organisations. The two areas combine the strategically significant issues of electrification of transport and reduction of emissions, and fit Madano’s strategy of focusing on sectors where communications are critical to success. Messem will lead on helping clients involved in transport through the challenges and opportunities associated with key issues like emerging technologies, new infrastructure, pollution and fleet optimisation, while developing Madano’s services in sustainable development across the business.

Messem said of his appointment: “Madano provides clients with outstanding clarity of strategic thinking and quality of communication delivery, and having known the company for many years I’m delighted to be able to use my experience in transport and sustainable development to help the company grow in these areas. The company is also well known for its innovation and creativity, which provides a great opportunity to develop my own ideas to help Madano and the company’s clients grow”.

Messem’s expertise in transport, sustainable development, strategy and communication stretches back throughout his career. Darran was previously Vice President Fuel Development at Shell where he was closely involved in renewable energy development and serving the transport sector; General Manager Market Development at British Airways where he was responsible for customer insight and market research; and an Associate Consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants where he worked with clients in transport and distribution. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Royal Geographical Society. 

Michael Evans, Managing Partner of Madano, added: “Darran is a perfect fit for Madano – with deep knowledge of both transport and sustainable development, coupled with his experience advising businesses and organisations at the very highest level. Given the breadth of the challenges we have in transport, as well as a growing focus on sustainability for many businesses, the role communications will have in helping to provide solutions is an excellent opportunity for us to officially launch both of our transport and sustainable development offerings, particularly given the increasing number of clients we have that require support in these areas”.

Conservative Party Conference 2017: Wednesday 4 October

Conservative Party Conference 2017: Wednesday 4 October

Michael Zdanowski and Tom Reynolds from Madano’s Energy team attended the Conservative Party Conference, which has now closed with the delivery of Theresa May’s keynote speech to delegates.

Here’s Tuesday and Wednesday’s round-up of news on major speeches, energy and infrastructure policy, Brexit-related discussions and other developments.

Please see below a summary of:

  • Key speeches from Tuesday and Wednesday – David Davis, Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, Theresa May 
  • Madano conference diary – Michael Zdanowski, Head of Energy
  • Tweets of the day

Speeches

David Davis – Brexit Secretary

  • Mr Davis emphasised the Government’s desire to focus on building a global hub of free trade, securing the benefits of a strong global economy for the UK.
  • He highlighted the benefits of an independent trade policy which will allow the UK to lead a “race to the top” and boost global standards and productivity.
  • Mr Davis stated that the UK seeks to be a “good global citizen”, paying its way and contributing more than the EU average to coordinated defence and international development efforts.
  • He suggested that a new sense of optimism is evident across the UK, as people begin to realise the potential benefits of leaving the EU.
  • The Secretary of State is committed to delivering Brexit and enabling the UK to move forward as a successful, outward-facing country, noting that the Government will not allow opponents to “wreck” the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
  • He criticised the Labour Party for opposing the Government’s implementation of Brexit and for a perceived failure to ignore the detailed “technicalities” involved in leaving the EU.

Madano analysis: Mr Davis’ speech was overshadowed by reports suggesting that he could be planning to retire in the summer of 2019, therefore choosing not to stand in a potential leadership election post-Brexit – reports later denied by Prime Minister Theresa May. He called for the UK to ignore “lurid” media headlines, suggesting that negotiations with the EU are going poorly and urged his Party to “keep [its] eyes on the prize” to deliver Brexit in a “smooth and orderly” manner.

Dr Liam Fox – International Trade Secretary

  • Dr Fox spoke about how his department had progressed since last year’s conference, at which point it had only been in existence for two months, and stated that it was designed to meet the trade challenges of the 21st century.
  • He outlined his vision for a “UK that trades its way to prosperity, stability and security” and to achieve this the UK must champion free trade. After Brexit, the UK would be able to “take full advantage of having an independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years”.   
  • Throughout the speech, Dr Fox sought to strike a positive tone, and was critical of “naysayers” who had “gotten it wrong” about Brexit. He listed several positive economic developments since the referendum including high levels of inward investment and exports.
  • He dismissed Labour’s economic offering as “economic incompetence, financial incontinence and self-congratulatory nonsense” and as a “confidence trick” which would place the next generation in debt.
  • The Secretary of State detailed the work his department needed to undertake upon the full withdrawal from the EU, including tabling new trading schedules with the WTO, translating into UK law the 40 trade agreements that the EU has with other countries, and looking at new trade agreements.
  • He reaffirmed the UK’s desire for a “full and comprehensive agreement with the EU, retaining an open and free trading area across the European continent”.
  • He argued that free trade had directly benefited consumers, and protectionism led to higher prices, less choice and a less competitive economy with lower standards of living.

Madano analysis: Dr Fox’s speech was somewhat distinct from his Cabinet colleagues, in that he did not spend a large amount of time focused on Labour and the tone of the speech was considerably more optimistic than others such as Philip Hammond. Instead, the speech sought to put forward a positive view on the opportunities of Brexit. He also spent a lot of time discussing what his department has already done and would do to deliver the international trade opportunities sought by the Government.

Boris Johnson – Foreign Secretary

  • Mr Johnson criticised what he perceives as an overly pessimistic impression of Brexit being given the UK media and by the opposition Labour Party, suggesting that the UK should “be bold” and seize the opportunities of leaving the EU.
  • He underlined the message of Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK will continue to be a “strong partner” to the EU and seek to build the country up as a hub of free trade.
  • He also noted that the UK is the premier destination for investment into the EU. 
  • Mr Johnson suggested that the world will one day be able to generate “as much clean energy as it wants” and face down the challenge of climate change.
  • He stressed that global policies must encourage and empower innovators to find new challenges, suggesting that the UK is the world’s capital of innovation.
  • The Foreign Secretary highlighted the benefits of UK action to bolster global security, noting that this allowed British goods to more easily be traded around the world.

Madano analysis: The Foreign Secretary has appeared to break ranks with the Cabinet in recent days, laying out his “red lines” on the UK’s negotiations with Europe in a series of newspaper articles. Amid suggestions by some that he should be sacked by the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson’s speech was well-received in the Conference Hall and echoed messages expressed by other ministers such as Priti Patel and Philip Hammond. He was clear that a post-Brexit future should be one that encourages international trade and innovation to tackle major challenges such as global warming. 

Theresa May – Prime Minister

  • The Prime Minister’s speech argued that the “British Dream” of ensuring that the next generation has it better than the one before needs to be “renewed” for a new generation. 
  • Mrs May apologised for failings in the party’s General Election campaign, describing it as “too scripted and presidential” with “no message of change”. She praised her Cabinet as united in “tackling the issues of the future together”, including climate change.
  • While defending the record of the previous Conservative and Coalition governments, Mrs May warned that all governments must develop a new agenda for the country.
  • Mrs May stated “we must get Brexit right” and rejected the notion that Brexit represents an insular retreat within our borders. Instead, the UK will have a global outlook and actively pursue new free trade deals around the world.
  • She reaffirmed her desire for a strong partnership with EU, and said that EU citizens in Britain “were welcome here” and “we want you to stay”.
  • The Prime Minister pledged to reform “failed” free markets, dedicating her premiership to “fixing the housing crisis”, including support for ‘help to buy’ outlined by the Chancellor and a further investment of £2 billion in affordable housing.
  • She argued that the energy market is “broken” and punishes consumer loyalty with higher prices; a draft bill will be put forward next week to put a price cap on energy bills.
  • She also suggested that reform of education and skills training is needed to meet the UK’s productivity gap, promising to boost the number of free schools by 100 each year.
  • May criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies and claimed that it was politicians who promised “the earth with no means of delivering” is what fuels disillusionment with politics.

Madano analysis: May’s speech was a personal one, in which she sought to face critics who have described her as emotionless and without ideas or vision. The speech attempted to refocus the Conservative Party, which critics have said has lacked a coherent policy direction following the disastrous election result this year. Her speech will be seen as an attempt to shore up her leadership.

Pledging action to tackle a perceived crisis in the UK’s retail energy market through an energy cap, Mrs May did not provide any detail as to which tariffs would be affected, or how many consumers would benefit, but stated that the bill would meet the manifesto pledges made earlier in the year.  

Madano Conference Diary – Michael Zdanowski, Head of Energy

Tuesday saw a number of energy and industry focused events at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

The ‘affordability of energy’ was a major topic of conversation at a number of events including an IPPR event titled ‘Will simpler energy bills get consumers a better deal?’

The panel included the FT’s Natalie Thomas and John Penrose MP and concluded that the UK’s energy market is broken. There was panel consensus that market intervention was a realistic and logical short-term solution to a market that has failed to deliver for millions.

Monday’s focus on the Industrial Strategy continued into Tuesday. At a Policy Exchange event, Richard Harrington, Minister for Energy and Industry, reiterated the rationale of the Industrial Strategy and stated that at its core is “our energy strategy”.

The profound transformation of our energy system was summed up well by Nicola Shaw of National Grid, who stated that earlier this week the UK enjoyed a record 29 hours without using coal as a result of strong winds across the UK.

Attendees at the Policy Exchange event were left in no doubt as to the depth of energy solutions available to Government as discussion extended to small modular reactors, carbon capture and storage, wind and solar, and energy storage.

Switching, or rather the lack of switching, among UK retail energy consumers was the central topic of a Scottish Power hosted event which saw the launch of a new report from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank.

The report titled ‘Stick or Switch’ includes impressive analysis, graphs and facts on the reasons behind the lack of consumer engagement.

At the event James Kirkup of the SMF called for a reduction of the number of customers on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) to 30% by 2020.

Finally, at a Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) fringe event held Tuesday night, Business Secretary Greg Clark talked openly to the Spectator’s James Forsyth about the Industrial Strategy.

Greg Clark highlighted the urgent need for an Industrial Strategy in the UK to address the lack of productivity in the country compared to the U.S., France, Germany and Italy.

As Clark put it, the UK is “not the earnings capital of the world… that’s what we’re addressing in the Industrial Strategy”. Among other things, Clark talked about the skills shortage in the UK and expressed his hope that engineering in the UK will one day be seen as prestigious as it is in other countries.

On the affordability of energy, Clark was adamant that Government intervention in the market was very real and that it would be “of benefit” to consumer bills.

Best tweets

Joe Ware, News and Emergencies Communications Manager, Christian Aid (@wareisjoe)

“EVs will be the game changer that will make consumers aware of their household energy use” @JSHeappey at @Policy_Exchange #CPC17 fringe

Tim Rotheray, Director, Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE)  (@trotheray)

Very refreshing: @beisgovuk minister Claire Perry say we must move beyond switching when we discuss consumer engagement in energy #CPC17

Doug Parr, Chief Scientist, Greenpeace UK (@doug_parr)

Nicola Shaw, Chief Exec of National Grid, says last night had fossil fuels (gas) providing just 11% of power, lowest C intensity ever #CPC17

Toby Brown, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager, Citizens Advice (@T0B0)

@VicMacG123 ‘3000 people come to @CitizensAdvice each day for help with an energy issue’ @eonenergyuk @Policy_Exchange #cpc17

Tim Stanley, Journalist, Daily Telegraph (@timothy_stanley)

As well as the cough, she’s spoken about her childlessness & illness. The most “robotic” PM has given the rawest speech #CPC17

Norman Smith, Assistant Political Editor, BBC News  (@BBCNormanS)

If we can’t get a Brexit deal then we are ready for NO deal – David Davis #cpc17

Emily Gosden, Energy Editor, The Times (@emilygosden)

Government RNS confirms the energy price cap will apply to customers on standard variable tariffs (i.e. 15m homes): https://www.investegate.co.uk/dept-busenrg

Jillian Ambrose, Energy Editor, The Daily Telegraph (@JH_Ambrose)

So much said at #CPC17 on strides made in energy and the opportunity for innovation in the future. All under threat by cynical price cap

National Housing Federation (@natfednews)

Prime Minister tells #CPC17 that the Government will invest an additional £2bn in affordable housing #UKHousing

No 3rd Runway Coalition (@NoR3Coalition)

PM claims Gov’t is “leading the world in tackling climate change” but supporting Heathrow Expansion just makes that claim laughable #CPC17

Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Leader, Green Party of England and Wales  (@CarolineLucas)

@theresa_may says Britain leads the world on #climate. Yet when Trump pulled out of Paris deal the Government was near-silent. #CPC17

Conservative Party Conference 2017: Tuesday 3 October

Conservative Party Conference 2017: Tuesday 3 October

Madano Energy’s daily update on energy and infrastructure policy, Brexit-related discussions and other major developments from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Please see below a summary of:

  • Madano overview from start of conference
  • Monday’s key speeches – Philip Hammond, Greg Clark
  • Madano conference diary – Michael Zdanowski, Head of Energy
  • Best tweets so far
  • Major speeches to watch out for today

Madano overview from start of conference

Sizeable protests took place in Manchester on Sunday afternoon, including an anti-Brexit protest and a wider protest against the Conservative administration. The sense on the ground in Manchester is that the UK’s political atmosphere seems more divided and polarised than at any time over the last 25 years.

Virgin Trains made what some might see as a strong pitch for renationalising the railways by cancelling one of the few main London-Manchester services on Sunday morning. This resulted in two train loads of conference attendees – including MPs, Cabinet ministers and others – cramming onto just one train. The two and a half hour journey saw many people standing for the entire trip.

Conference attendees woke up to the news that Monarch, a sizeable UK airline, has gone bust. The timing of this news will be a major topic of conversation particularly given the Government’s focus on protecting British consumers many of whom are now stranded abroad, and has already featured in the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s speech.

Monday’s key speeches

Philip Hammond – Chancellor of the Exchequer

  • Mr Hammond pledged an additional £300 million investment “to future-proof the railway network in the north” and help to link up major programmes such as HS2 with future rail projects.
  • The Chancellor also stated that the Government’s “patient capital review” into methods of boosting private investment in “growth businesses” will report in the autumn.
  • Acknowledging that British governments have not always succeeded in infrastructure delivery, he stated that this Government “accepts the challenge of stepping up infrastructure investment” and is committed to building for the future whilst tackling existing debt.
  • He highlighted the extra £23 billion earmarked for “high-return schemes” such as housing, transport and R&D to improve UK productivity, alluding to the Government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy White Paper.
  • The Government is “committed” to the Northern Powerhouse project, aiming to “join the great cities of the North into a single connected market”, as well as similar efforts to forge a Midlands Engine for Growth.
  • Referring to Labour policies, he criticised the idea of the state controlling industry, highlighting historic trends towards perceived failure and inefficiency in areas such as utilities, transport and energy.
  • Mr Hammond also expressed a desire for continuing a strong economic relationship with the EU without accepting the need for political connections or “ever closer union”.

Madano analysis: The Chancellor made almost no mention of energy policy or climate change in a speech notable for its focus on attacking the opposition Labour Party. Hammond’s speech seems to have been designed to stave off criticism of the Government’s approach to regional investment, emphasising the need to invest in projects such as the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine. This message was echoed by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, also speaking today, who noted that any perceived economic success shepherded in by the Conservatives has not been shared equally amongst all parts of the UK. Street emphasised the need for the Government’s industrial strategy to prioritise regional growth and interconnectivity.

Greg Clark – Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary

  • Mr Clark addressed a number of issues in his speech, including Brexit, the Government’s Industrial Strategy, productivity and employment.
  • He argued that Brexit would be carried out responsibly and was about the UK becoming a more open country and economy.
  • He stated that the UK was the “jobs capital of the world” as the vast majority of working age people were employed, but that the UK had a lot to do to become the “earnings capital of the world”, and that the conservatives would increase the country’s earning power.
  • He also said that the UK would become the “go-to place for new battery technology”, which would be achieved through the Faraday Challenge. He cited examples of battery-powered vehicles, which would be developed in the UK.
  • Mr Clark suggested that the British government is leading the way on the energy transition, pointing to support for new nuclear and the smart meter rollout, as well as the fact that the UK is already a world leader in offshore wind power.
  • He noted that the Taylor Review would explore the changing nature of work in the gig economy, ensuring that it drove economic success while also safeguarding the rights of its workers.
  • He was critical of the Labour Party, which he suggested would raise taxes to “the highest level in the peacetime history of the United Kingdom” and expropriate industries. He was also critical of moderate Labour MPs who were standing by as their party adopted “an extreme and ruinous ideology”.

Madano analysis: Mr Clark’s speech could be perceived as dependable, careful not to touch on any controversies or issues currently surrounding the Conservatives, instead listing the various policies enacted by his department. He focused heavily on the Industrial Strategy and the successes which it has delivered to date, such as the lowest ever price offshore, wind power. His criticism of the Labour Party was broad ranging rather than focused on individual policies, and he presented the Conservatives as the sensible opposite to Labour. 

Madano conference diaryMichael Zdanowski, Head of Energy

Best tweets so far

Jillian Ambrose, Telegraph Energy Reporter (@JH_Ambrose)

Northern Power House: Claire Perry MP says it’s no longer about looking at energy, industry, transport – but an integrated whole #CPC17

Bright Blue (@WeAreBrightBlue)

“Climate change is no.1 priority for 18-24 yr olds…this is a big opportunity for the Conservatives” @LauraRound #brightblue #CPC17

Greenpeace UK Chief Scientist and Policy Director (@Doug_Parr)

Clare Perry, climate minister says she will be ‘saying a lot more about Carbon Capture & Storage in a few weeks’ #CPC17

Bloomberg Business Journalist (@Jess_Shankleman)

If wind was a liquid we’d be jumping up and down with joy with it, says @RenewableUK’s Hugh McNeal at #CPC17

Daily Mirror Political Reporter (@DanBloom1)

Chaos at #CPC17 fringe. Boris Johnson bundled up the room surrounded by aides/ bodyguards when asked if he’s making things difficult for May

Victoria MacGregor, Director of Energy at Citizens Advice (@VicMacG123)

Calling for urgent action on price protection for vulnerable at #energy event with @GregClarkMP engagingly chaired by @steve_hawkes #CPC17

Sam Hall, Senior Research Fellow at Bright Blue (@samuelhall0)

At @WeAreBrightBlue, Claire Perry advocates a place-based local approach to meeting our energy needs #CPC17 #BrightBlue

Major speeches to watch out for today

12:30 (approx.) – Speech by Home Secretary Amber Rudd

14:00 (approx.) – Speech by Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis

14:30 (approx.) – Speech by Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox

15:30 (approx.) – Speech by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson 

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