IT’S been a busy week for energy secretary Ed Davey. Somewhere between lambasting the “rightwing Tea Party tendencies” of anti-green Conservatives and batting away suggestions he’s the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, the minister has been plagued by the thorny problem of keeping Britain’s lights on.
Hamstrung by his party’s pledge to block public subsidy of nuclear projects, Davey has instead brimmed with confidence about the private sector’s interest in footing the bill since his appointment in February.
This enthusiasm led him to spend the Olympics hob-nobbing with energy chiefs, keen to champion the benefits of investing in nuclear at the coalition’s Business Embassy.
This week will show whether these efforts, alongside a promise to overhaul the energy market, are starting to pay off. A number of global groups are expected to place bids for the Horizon project, and a much-needed new partner for EDF’s scheme is in the works.
Analysts remain sceptical that either project will get off the ground in time to avert an energy shortage, but progress on either would be a shot in the arm for the coalition’s power policy – if not Davey’s own chance of power within the nuclear-shy Lib Dems.