The Energy White Paper has finally begun to grasp the importance of taking action to ensure the UK has access to secure energy supplies for the future and to ensure that climate change mitigation remains a priority, says The Royal Academy of Engineering in response to today’s energy policy announcements.

“However, the scale of the engineering challenge to deliver the required infrastructure is unprecented and must be taken into account for both reliable, secure supply and reduced demand,” says Dr Sue Ion, Vice President of the Academy.

“Targets to date have been aspirational and not realistic”, says Dr Ion. “We need more traction and less spin as the consultation plays out. Otherwise politicians in Westminster will think they can command solutions when we are decades off the pace in terms of engineering reality.”

New and improved technologies are essential to address the twin concerns of climate change and security of supply. The critical clusters of technology are nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS), energy efficiency including low-energy buildings and vehicles, renewables and energy storage. We need all of these, it is not a matter of choice.

Carbon capture and storage has the potential to make a significant reduction in carbon emissions from fossil fuels which could ensure that widely available coal remains in the energy mix. A critical assessment of the technological challenges and costs is necessary but the UK should continue to invest in clean coal technology including CCS.

The problems we face in delivering clean energy reliably require new engineering solutions within a policy and economic framework that will encourage timely investment enabled by appropriate Government intervention.

Notes for editors

  1. The Academy’s submission to today’s White Paper was Developing a sustainable energy strategy, a report published in July 2006 compiling discussion from a series of seven seminars on different aspects of energy policy.
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering