Chalk + Talk with Professor Dieter Helm CBE

What’s next for energy policy?

We are delighted to welcome Professor Dieter Helm, LSE, to the SMF on 3 April, 12:30-1:30pm.

Excess supply has been a luxury that Britain has enjoyed for 30 years. Deindustrialisation in the 1980s left a big surplus of electricity generation capacity. North Sea oil and gas, and the dash for gas for electricity generation turned the 1990s into golden years of abundance. Then the Great Recession cut demand from the mid 2000 onwards. Now it is largely over, and Britain’s energy luck may be running out. Britain faces dwindling North Sea production, its power stations are ageing, and demand is picking up again with the return to economic growth. DECC sees the possibility that electricity capacity margins in 2015/16 might fall as low as 2% – and that is based on out-of-date pessimistic growth assumptions made in mid-2013.

Faced with this capacity crunch, so far the Coalition’s Energy Market Reforms are at best inadequate, whilst Labour’s energy policy focusses on prices rather than investment. It is not rocket science to fix Britain’s energy policies, but it does need both recognition of the scale of the problem and decisive action now.

We are delighted to welcome Professor Dieter Helm CBE to Chalk + Talk to discuss what’s next for the UK’s energy policy, set out what needs to be done – and what may happen if it is not.


Chalk + Talk is the SMF’s popular lunchtime seminar series, run in partnership with the ESRC. Chalk + Talk brings the best policy output from the world of academia into the heart of Westminster.

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