The EI’s Energy Barometer 2015 was an undoubted success. A high proportion (63%) of EI members in our College responded to the survey. Their comments provided us with strong, unified messages about policy continuity, investor confidence and innovation support, skills needed for the future, and the need to improve the way we communicate energy matters and engage with the public.
The Barometer was well received by the EI membership: the opportunity to participate was welcomed and the final report was impressive. There was great coverage of its key messages in the trade press, and policymakers also gave the report a positive reception. The EI now has regular meetings with DECC officials and advisors, including invitations for them to feed in to question development for future Barometer surveys. But this is just the beginning – we must build on this excellent start in 2016.
We want greater participation from EI members and will be expanding the College, inviting an additional 2,000 FEI, MEI and GradEIs to join. We also have plans to engage more frequently with College members throughout the year, seeking their contribution to potential mini-surveys, deep-dive interviews and policy consultations. We are aiming for continued involvement from policymakers, asking them to tell us what they want to know from the report as we cover new topics, including the outcomes from COP21, and with an eye to future policy events such as the EU referendum.
2016 will be just one important step on the road to developing the EI’s Energy Barometer into a powerful tool. We will develop a picture of key trends on issues such as prices, drawn from repeated questions in successive surveys. And, as the EI works to anticipate major policy events, the Barometer will provide the information we need to respond rapidly to energy stories in the news and be a relevant and reliable source of timely information for Government and the media.
The success of the Energy Barometer lies with the EI’s members. Their collective knowledge, diverse opinions, and first-hand insight are the real value inherent in the project. All members are welcome to contribute to the development of future Barometer surveys: send us your ideas for questions now. College tenure runs for two years, enabling all members to actively participate on a rolling basis. If you are invited this year, please give us the benefit of your insight: accept the invitation and then, when the time comes, respond to the survey so that your views help to shape the energy policy conversation.
Dr Joanne Wade FEI chairs the EI’s Energy Advisory Panel.