IGEM at the Labour Party Conference 2023
IGEM CEO Oliver Lancaster attended this week’s Labour Party Conference on 8-11 October.
Here, he shares his thoughts on the event and some of the key messages relevant to the energy sector.
“Party conference season continued this week with the Labour event, held in the same venue as last year’s conference in Liverpool. As with last week’s Conservative Party Conference, the Exhibition Centre hosted a variety of energy stands for party members, councillors and parliamentarians to visit and find out more.
“Some of our IGEM Company Members could be found at the industrial cluster stand and in the collaborative Hydrogen Zone, which was superbly put together by Beyond2050.
“It's been another great opportunity to meet up with sector colleagues and progress potential innovation projects, brief others on the latest activities that IGEM has led or been involved with, and discuss new policy options and policy consultations so that all can help to deliver a sustainable gas future.
“Our President Andrew Musgrave was in attendance alongside me to represent IGEM and network with all those there. We also attended a number of fringe events to hear from energy leaders and political voices discussing today's energy system challenges and announcements on what may be around the corner.
“The atmosphere was bullish and buoyant in the old docklands, but, surprisingly, there was not much MP engagement on the stands like there was in Manchester.
“However, there was a lot of interest in hydrogen overall. Being on the stand allowed us to join the dots for attendees and helped to get conversations going between stakeholders. Hydrogen producers, industrial consumers, the transport sector, heating appliance manufacturers, hydrogen transporters, energy suppliers and storage operators were all on hand to support one another.
“Although politicians didn't tour the exhibition area as much as expected, it may have been because they
were busy making speeches. Jonathan Reynolds, Rachel Reeves, Ed Milliband and Hilary Benn all made reference to investing in hydrogen as part of a basket of solutions, and to creating new jobs through these, including for engineers, installers and designers.
“I suspect it won't be long before we see a General Election on our doorsteps. Between now and then, the policies across the parties will become clearer as they finalise what to put in their manifestos regarding the delivery of the energy transition. Hopefully, it's loud and clear that affordability and the consumer (voter!) journey need to be priorities if we are to make progress. Together we’ll be poised and ready to build this clean future.”