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Our mission to tackle the trilemma

The so-called energy trilemma – the conflicts between accelerating decarbonisation and ensuring security of supply and affordability – has been a source of near constant debate within the utilities sector for more than a decade.

While the term may have fallen out of favour, the question of how we pay for net zero and transition safely to a renewable grid have remained resolutely on the agenda.

In 2022, the trilemma has renewed importance – and is equally as relevant in water – with the added awareness that achieving these three aims should not exacerbate or create social inequality.

The cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine and the very evident impacts of climate change have all focussed minds on the need to crack this conundrum.

Utilities cannot tackle the trilemma by themselves – clear policy directions, informing agile and effective regulatory frameworks are essential to support these goals. Recent policy announcements such as the Energy Bill and the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements have been welcome additions to the debate but the current paralysis in government will inevitably set back progress.

In this vacuum there is a golden opportunity for the utilities sector to come together to create a shared vision for tackling the trilemma that can help inform new ministers and secretaries of state and underline the urgent need for action.

This is the aim of our new flagship conference, the Utility Week Forum, which will take place in London on 8-9 November. It will feature sector leaders, regulators, policymakers and academics giving their view on what the trilemma means in 2022, the progress we have made and the barriers that remain.

In the run-up to the event Utility Week will run a series of pieces discussing key themes that will be picked up in the conference. These will include focuses on wholesale energy market reform, safeguarding water supply, the practicalities of an national social tariff and the energy / water nexus on the road to net zero.

You can keep up to date with the content here and if you would like to contribute to the debate please contact us.