The launch of the National Infrastructure Commission was announced at the 2015 Conservative party conference and was swiftly followed by publication of its terms of reference and the first consultation calling for evidence. The NIC's purpose is to address the UK’s strategic infrastructure needs over the next 10 to 30 years, for which it has identified three challenges: northern connectivity, London’s transport infrastructure, and energy supply.
As part of the first public consultation that closed on January 8, the Government asked how the UK can improve how electricity demand and supply are balanced while minimising costs to the consumer over the long term. E3G’s consultation response argues that successfully addressing the challenge will depend on the NIC's ability to:
- exploit synergies across technology types, sectors and national borders;
- develop common, consistent and robust scenarios to underpin infrastructure planning without foreclosing options; and
- shift infrastructure decision making down to those who can control the level of demand at a city and regional level to build-in flexibility and preserve optionality.
E3G’s response shows how demand response and efficiency, more European interconnection, and an attentiveness to innovation in other sectors – such as electric transport and heating – can deliver lowest cost balancing over the next three decades. We argue that the NIC must not try to predict the future but to ensure that the future is not being wilfully ignored in order to simplify decision making.
E3G’s full response is set out in the attached consultation response.