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National Infrastructure Commission at Future Cities Forum

We are delighted to be working with Katie Black, Director of Policy and previously Head of transport, energy and digital, at the National Infrastructure Commission, for our City Hall, London infrastructure forum that takes place this June. She will be speaking during our panel discussions.

Katie joined the NIC when it was created in 2015 to work in the energy team and before that held a variety of roles in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. She has also worked in industry managing business change for Good Energy. A chemist by background, her final Masters project concentrated on some of the technical aspects of Carbon Capture and Storage.

Katie has been talking about one of the Commission’s first studies. ‘Smart Power’, which looked at

‘how the UK could integrate technologies such as storage, interconnection and demand flexibility to create a more flexible and cost-effective energy system. As we move from large-scale, fossil-fuelled electricity generation plants to cleaner technologies such as renewables, we must also change the way we operate the energy system to ensure that we can fully exploit them.

‘ Innovations which add flexibility to the system mean that electricity supply and demand don’t always have to match in real time, essentially helping us accommodate the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow when we might want to use electricity. The Smart Power project looked at both the potential of these innovative technologies to bring costs down and the barriers which may prevent them being integrated at present’.

Future Cities Forum has carried out research into future energy provision and housing needs at our January forum this year, with the BEIS’ Head of Local Energy, Patrick Allcorn, NIC Commissioner Professor Sadie Morgan last November at our Woolwich regeneration event and with NIC’s Chief Executive Phil Graham at our annual infrastructure forum at City Hall, London.

The National Infrastructure Commission is independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.

Commission Chair, Sir John Armitt is urging England’s city leaders to make the most of transformational vision for local infrastructure funding. He says proposed new powers – set out in the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment - and devolved infrastructure funding could transform efforts by cities in England to tackle congestion and housing shortages, but city leaders need to grasp the opportunities presented by this agenda and clearly show the benefits it could bring:

‘Without proper infrastructure planning and funding, cities face gridlock and new residents are priced out of increasingly unaffordable homes’, he stated.

The NIC has recommended that the government should provide £43 billion of additional investment in cities outside London by 2040, enable long-term devolved budgets for all cities and support major new transport projects in the fastest growing and most congested cities outside of London.

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