Louise Kingham OBE
The EI’s inaugural Energy Barometer report of members’ views on the industry’s important future challenges identified that developing a pipeline of energy professionals was a key concern for those at the heart of the energy industry today.
Respondents emphasised the urgent need to maintain the supply of skilled workers into established and developed sectors. They also express the need to preserve and transfer the knowledge of those preparing to leave the industry to a new generation. This is much talked about as an issue and there are some great examples of good practice within a number of companies in the sector, but it is incumbent in my view for every experienced energy professional to keenly share their knowledge and offer guidance to those that will succeed them. This way we ensure experience isn’t lost and good practice is shared.
As hosts of the POWERful Women initiative we have just launched POWERful Connections – a mentoring scheme led by CEOs in the industry to support those looking to lead the industry in the future. I was delighted with the overwhelming support we had from CEOs we approached to be mentors but interestingly those who could be mentored were not so ready to jump forward without encouragement. Currently we also support individuals with a mentor to help them achieve professional membership. Great support for the early professional and a complement to a mentor’s own CPD. These are two examples of what we do, however, we recognise that more needs to be done and we have plans to expand our offering to energy professionals here because support is needed across all demographics and for those returning from career breaks or with transferable skills from other industries.
As well as each of us encouraging others to be mentored and offering our support to do so we also need to develop programmes that are flexible, practical and light on administration to make them effective. As recognised energy professionals, please feel free to get involved.
Professor Jim Skea CBE
It’s great for a new President to have two big hits in a single day. We launched the Energy Barometer in Parliament on 23 June at an event hosted by Neil Parish MP, recently installed as Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. A large audience filled the splendid committee rooms in the Palace of Westminster. Joan McNaughton CB HonFEI, Dr Joanne Wade FEI and myself, ably chaired by Ian Marchant FEI, summarised the findings and responded to a challenging set of questions from participants. If you have yet to take a look, the findings – www.energyinst.org/energy-barometer-2015-report – are well worth a read. It shows that the professionals who make up the Energy Institute (EI) have firm ideas about what the industry needs to do in terms of engaging with the public and passing on the torch to the next generation. But also very firm ideas about government’s role. The need for policy continuity was one of the strongest messages. When we go back to the EI College for their views next year, members will be able to express their feedback on how the new Government has performed in its first nine months – which promises to make for interesting reading!
From Parliament on to the Royal Academy of Engineering where Ian Marchant FEI chaired his final Council meeting, followed by the EI’s AGM. I was pleased to be elected President at this point – following the full and vigorous democratic processes characteristic of all professional bodies.
Then on to the second hit of my first day, the Cadman Lecture delivered by Malcolm Brinded CBE FEI, Chairman, Shell Foundation. Building on his long experience in the oil and gas sector, Malcolm distilled the energy challenge into five big “asks”: tackling the needs of the five billion people using less than a third of the world’s energy; establishing a global carbon market; accelerating energy access based on proven solutions; upping global collaboration and investment in the context of rapid urbanisation; and focusing on enterprise-based solutions, with more resources for early stage innovation. Plenty of food for thought and an engaged Q&A session that could have gone for ages. The Energy Institute at its best.
Malcolm’s lecture touched on a theme that I would like to return to during my Presidency – the need for a more holistic, systems-based approach to the energy sector. The EI took a big step forward back in 2003 with the merger of two preceding institutions. We obviously need to nurture the distinctive contributions that each part makes. But the need to reconcile energy access, security, affordability and climate compatibility poses new challenges that demand new thinking. I hope I can work closely with members and staff to take that agenda forwards.
Finally, this morning, my first meeting with Louise for the regular catch-up between the Chief Executive and the President gave me the opportunity to experience the refurbishment of the New Cavendish Street offices first-hand. It was remarkably quiet from the street, but as soon as you are through the front door the familiar scent of “builders in the house” is apparent. It’s all on track, with work forging on and staff taking it all in their stride.
Louise Kingham OBE
EI Chief Executive
What the EI does – supporting and recognising energy professionals to solve energy challenges – is the ultimate in public benefit because it’s FOR society. The trouble is, it’s usually not WITH society and there in lies the nub of the problem for energy development. The EI’s Council has been debating how the EI can help bridge this gap in communications and build understanding. By doing so, we reduce fear and uncertainty, we present the evidence – the facts – and let people make better informed decisions about energy issues. These people are likely to be the people that make energy system change happen – they just don’t realise the power in their own hands. In society today, energy development is decided anywhere from the highest order of governments all the way to the remotest local citizens.
With 21,000 energy experts among us – who are all members of society and community – we have the opportunity to help solve this problem. We just need to work out the most effective way to do so.
At the same time as working locally, it’s important that some of our most eminent members succeed on a global stage. For example, EI’s Honorary Fellows including Sir David King, Lord Browne, Lord Stern and Lord Turner are among the authors of the Apollo Programme – which calls for a fraction of public funds from countries to deliver a global research programme to solve the challenges of climate change at scale. The simple ideas are often the best and experts understand the technologies that could make a difference now. Again at a global scale, it’s garnering support from decision-makers who don’t see themselves as part of the energy solution but have the power to be so.
If you have views about how the EI should help society understand energy then do get in touch at email@example.com (or tweet #understandenergy)
Ian Marchant FEI, President
All good things must come to an end and I am now handing over the Presidency of the Energy Institute (EI) having served two years. It has been a joy and a privilege to have the role and I hope I have been a good steward of our organisation. In reflecting on the two years, my thoughts are about the past, present and future.
We have just finished celebrating our one hundredth anniversary and that included a cake in the Palace of Westminster, a video from the Prince of Wales and numerous dinners and events up and down the country. It is good occasionally to look back and celebrate the achievements of the past, however that phase of EI’s life is over, probably for another 25 years. We have also launched the Energy Matrix, which makes available the accumulated knowledge of over 90,000 records and wisdom of our industry, in a modern digital form.
But enough of the past. We are all members of today’s energy industry and the EI continues to address today’s issues. During the last twelve months or so we have hosted the inaugural Energy Systems conference and our annual IP Week conference, which this year generated a lot of media interest, as well as another 90 events. A new addition to the EI calendar has been the autumn President’s event. In 2013, I hosted a debate and then in 2014 I gave a lecture which, as it was held in a function room at the Hard Rock Cafe, was full of song title puns. We have got involved in new initiatives such as POWERful Women and ESOS, and the first publication under the Energy Essentials banner has been issued. Our technical programme continues to go from strength to strength with the issue of 41 technical guidance documents, the publication of the first G9 offshore wind annual incident data report and further growth in the content of and access to The Journal of the Energy Institute. We have continued to drive up standards and build competencies for the future with the accreditation of 68 energy-related courses in 21 institutions throughout the world.
And talking of the future, as I hand over the reins to the very capable hands of Professor Jim Skea CBE FRSA FEI, I would highlight three foundation stones that have been laid recently. Firstly, we have started the refurbishment of our building to make it fit for the 21st century and to provide better member services. Secondly we have undertaken and launched our first Energy Barometer, which uses the knowledge and experience of our membership to gauge the state of the energy world and to inform policymakers and commentators. Thirdly, we introduced a new EI award category, the Young Energy Professional of the Year, to complement the work of our growing Young Professional Networks.
I believe that the group who met under the leadership of Sir Boverton Redwood a hundred years ago would be proud of what their creation continues to do and in its plans for the future.
Ian Marchant FEI, President
One of the features of the energy industry over the last 100 years has been the extent of innovation we have seen throughout the value chain. As part of that industry, the Energy Institute (EI) must also continue to innovate. To this end, we will be launching a new research and engagement programme in January 2015 called the Energy Barometer.
As a professional body, we have a lot of expertise and experience to be found among our industry membership that we should be bringing to bear on the debates around energy. The aim of the Barometer is to give a voice to the opinions and insight of energy professionals and establish the EI as a credible and trusted source of knowledge. It will provide a vehicle for members who are industry and thought leaders to help inform debate on energy related issues, demonstrating the value of their knowledge and expertise to government, influencers, our own industry and the public. From a primary focus on the UK, the Barometer should provide a focal point for debate on the real issues underlying the future energy system challenges.
We hope to use the Barometer as a source of meaningful support to the process of policy development and to create an opportunity for greater engagement between EI members and policy makers. The Barometer will be based on annual surveys covering regular topics for comparison year on year, as well as topical issues. Data will be built around a series of questions, asked of an ‘EI Research College’ consisting of approximately 600 EI members. Supplementing the insight generated from their responses will be statistical information taken from UK government and other official sources. This will be backed up by commentary and viewpoints from senior industry fellows.
The first annual Barometer report should be completed by the end of April 2015, and we hope to publish it around the time the new UK government is in place next May. The report will be aimed at UK policy makers and senior industry professionals, and will also be sent to selected Members of the new Parliament. We expect media interest and public awareness to be generated by specific insights from the survey.
This whole initiative, however, can not run without the support of members. More details of the Research College will follow – outlining how we would like you to participate. Check out the EI’s magazines and www.energyinst.org/energy-barometer for details.