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2016 preview: Energy

The energy and power market is expected to account for more than half of the investment in infrastructure in 2016 – double that being put into roads and rail combined.

This is investment on a massive scale. For this reason, I see 2016 as a year of significant change and opportunity for the sector.

With Chinese investment now secured for Hinkley Point C, EDF’s final investment decision is imminent. This will trigger an acceleration of activity as one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects in Europe gets off the ground.

This, together with other competing generation technologies, will drive the need to both upgrade existing and install new transmission connections to ensure the power generated reaches our homes and places of work.

Clarity needed

Throughout the industry, there is inevitably a desire for firm investment decisions to be made in 2016 to further bolster the progress made this year. There is an appetite for stable, transparent policy at government level in order to provide developers and investors within the certainty required, helping drive projects forward.

Looking at the renewables industry in particular, uncertainty has stifled investment over the past five years – a trend we do not wish to see continued into the New Year.

“Organisations will need to continue investing in new talent through apprenticeship and graduate programmes”

Thankfully, the advancement in technology coupled with the need to store increasing amounts of generation from renewable sources has pushed this subject up the government’s agenda. We remain hopeful for 2016 as the energy and power sector looks to to work with government to clarify and secure opportunities.

Unprecedented demand

Balfour Beatty been delivering safe nuclear construction continuously in the UK for 50 years. We are in a strong position to support the new nuclear programme as well as the associated transmission infrastructure projects as the investments decisions are taken.

It is well known that the growth in the nuclear market will place unprecedented demand on the industry, both in the quality of resources needed and in the way the facilities are delivered. Organisations will need to continue investing in new talent through apprenticeship and graduate programmes.

A huge gap remains, however, and early engagement with and commitment to the supply chain will be critical if credible and capable teams are to be built up that can confidently deliver the outcomes that investors seek.

Stephen Tarr is managing director of Balfour Beatty Major Projects

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