This issue affects all of our members, not just the 20,000-plus who work in the energy sector, and it will be important to gather views and input from across the union, just as we did when we developed our sustainable aviation policy.
That’s why Prospect will be launching an all-member survey on energy on Friday 14 July, as a first step in this process. The survey will be a chance to find out what our members think about critical energy issues, what their concerns and priorities are, and to draw on their collective wisdom and expertise to help ensure our policy platform is comprehensive, coherent and grounded in technical realities.
The need to update our energy policy is especially acute in these turbulent and challenging political times. From the new nuclear power station under construction at Hinkley Point C, to the debate about an energy price cap, fundamental questions are being asked about the way we produce and consume energy.
There are also major challenges ahead for energy policy, spanning everything from Brexit to climate change. Britain is currently, for example, an active participant in a variety of energy-related EU initiatives, including the internal energy market, the nuclear treaty Euratom and the European emissions trading scheme. As we navigate the Brexit process, negotiating new relationships with these initiatives will be immensely challenging.
At the same time Britain’s energy infrastructure is ageing rapidly, and many of our key electricity generating assets are approaching the end of their useful lives, so substantial investment is needed over the next ten years to ensure we can reliably meet future demand. And, as the challenge of global warming looms large, this all needs to be done in a way that allows the UK to meet its ambitious climate goals.
As a trade union with a major presence in the energy supply industry, our members are at the forefront of dealing with the challenges, and will be directly involved in helping to deliver a future system that is reliable, affordable, and substantially de-carbonised.
As a result, it is incumbent upon us as a union to articulate a comprehensive, coherent and informed vision for Britain’s energy future, which is why the policy review process is so important.
For next week’s survey to be a success, we need everyone in Prospect to take a few minutes to fill it in, and to help us spread the word in your branches and get fellow union members to complete it as well.
It is important that we get a representative range of views from across our membership, so whether you work in the energy supply industry, or in one of the many other sectors where Prospect is present, we need your views and your input. The survey is anonymous, and the data we collect will be used internally by Prospect to help us develop an energy policy that all of our members can support.
So look out for the survey email next week, and let your union colleagues know about it – with your input Prospect can develop a compelling vision for Britain’s energy future.