ECC PN4 - 06-02-09

Energy and Climate Change Committee
Committee announcement 4

6 February 2009


The Energy and Climate Change Committee today issued a call for written evidence for its forthcoming inquiry into the future of Britain's electricity networks. We are at a critical junction in the development of our energy infrastructure. This inquiry will look at how Britain's networks will need to adapt in response to future changes in the generation mix, and the role of the Government and Ofgem in facilitating this, and the potential for a 'supergrid'.

The Committee particularly welcomes evidence address the following questions, although respondents are free to comment on any issues they consider relevant:

€ What should the Government's vision be for Britain's electricity networks, if it is to meet the EU 2020 renewables target, and longer-term security of energy supply and climate change goals?

€ How do we ensure the regulatory framework is flexible enough to cope with uncertainty over the future generation mix?

€ What are the technical, commercial and regulatory barriers that need to be overcome to ensure sufficient network capacity is in place to connect a large increase in onshore renewables, particularly wind power, as well as new nuclear build in the future? For example issues may include the use of locational pricing, or the availability of skills.

€ What are the issues the Government and regulator must address to establish a cost-effective offshore transmission regime?

€ What are the benefits and risks associated with greater interconnection with other countries, and the proposed 'supergrid'?

€ What challenges will higher levels of embedded and distributed generation create for Britain's electricity networks?

€ What are the estimated costs of upgrading our electricity networks, and how will these be met?

€ How can the regulatory framework ensure adequate network investment in light of the current credit crunch and recession?

€ How can the regulatory framework encourage network operators to innovate, and what is the potential of smart grid technologies?

€ Is there sufficient investment in R&D and innovation for transmission and distribution technologies?

€ What can the UK learn from the experience of other countries' management of their electricity networks?

We anticipate that our inquiry will feed into Ofgem's long-term RPI-X@20 review of the regulatory framework for Britain's energy networks. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 18 March 2009. The Committee will take oral evidence in late spring/early summer.

The Committee is also issuing today a call for evidence for its inquiry into UK offshore oil and gas.


Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. Hard copy submissions should be sent to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA. The deadline is 18 March 2009. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. However, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this matter.

Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


1. Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr Elliot Morley MP, Labour, Scunthorpe (Chairman)
Mr David Anderson MP, Labour, Blaydon
Colin Challen MP, Labour, Morley and Rothwell
Mrs Nadine Dorries MP, Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire
Charles Hendry MP, Conservative, Wealden
Miss Julie Kirkbride MP, Conservative, Bromsgrove
Anne Main MP, Conservative, St. Albans
Judy Mallaber MP, Labour, Amber Valley
John Robertson MP, Labour, Glasgow North West
Sir Robert Smith MP, Liberal Democrats, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
Paddy Tipping MP, Labour, Sherwood
Dr Desmond Turner MP, Labour, Brighton Kemptown
Mr Mike Weir MP, Scottish National Party, Angus
Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Labour, Southampton Test

2. More information can be found on the Committee website at:

Media Enquiries: Laura Kibby, Tel: 020 7219 0718, e-mail:

Specific Committee Information: e-mail:, Tel: 020 7219 2569

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