We have to ensure a reliable energy supply is available
NOW we are into October, it is inevitable that we become more dependent on using electricity to light and often to heat our homes, so I was interested to receive a briefing recently about the security of the UK electricity supply.
There are a lot of changes going on within the energy system, such as the closure of some of the older nuclear-fuel power stations, the demands of making sure that fossil fuel power stations meet environmental standards and the decline in North Sea gas production.
Electricity generation and power distribution needs to be resilient because of severe weather conditions.
These may not be the winter snowstorms or gales that bring down power lines. A few summers ago, heavy rainfall and flooding in Gloucestershire came close to inundating a large power station.
All governments have a responsibility to make sure that the UK has a diverse and reliable energy supply. International tensions such as those involving Ukraine and Russia could affect the supply of gas into Europe.
Some time ago I visited the Milford Haven complex in Wales, where liquefied natural gas is being imported from sources in north Africa or the Middle East. However, because the liquefied gas can be transported more easily than by using pipelines, there is the option to use supplies from Trinidad or even Malaysia.
Once the tanker has docked and has transferred its cargo to the processing plant, the liquefied natural gas is reheated and turned back into gas to be distributed through the UK gas pipeline network.
There are also smaller plants elsewhere in England and there are gas storage sites across the UK mainland, in England, Wales and Scotland.
There are many reforms going on in the electricity market to ensure that the industry has the necessary funding for reinvestment.
Backbenchers like me will be monitoring to make sure that there is sufficient resilience and capacity, because our businesses, industries, with services public and private, as well as our homes, rely on the electricity supply. And our energy must be affordable for all.