Sunday, 18 September 2011

Becoming, Or Not Becoming, Energised

One of the pleasures of being Master is that you are invited to other Companies' annual lectures. On Tuesday I went to Drapers Hall as a guest of the Fuellers Company to listen to John Cridland, the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, talk on the extent to which the UK's energy policy is fit for purpose. Something of a dry subject (unless you are a Fueller) one might suppose. And a little incongruous for the Fuellers whose Latin motto translates as ''Our strength is in coal.' Never mind. The reality of course is that when you have a high intellect person speaking on a subject on which they are not only extremely knowledgeable but also quite passionate, it is a fascinating experience

Energy policy needless to say is set at government level but it is business that feels the effect and John Cridland's view was that not enough consultation with business takes place. The competitiveness of energy intensive industries is, he believes, under threat because of government policy.

Worse yet, renewable energy (think wind farms) are not cost effective. Indeed sometimes they have to be shut down when it's too windy (no, really, they do). So to be told that Tony Blair, just before he was removed from office, signed us up to a European legal commitment to have 30% of all energy produced to be from renewables by 2020 is more than a little disheartening.

I met a lot of familiar faces at the reception afterwards and happily we all had enough energy to enjoy the Fuellers' hospitality.

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