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Energy chief's anointment is baptism of fire

David Smith has been named the new chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, to take up the trade body's challenges - which have grown dramatically since its birth, five years ago.
The trade body celebrates its fifth birthday this year and 2008 has made more demands on the trade association. Organisers say the ENA is far busier now than it was even a year ago.

David Smith takes over from the former chief executive Nick Goodall, who left the ENA's top post in September 2007.

Energy Networks Association is funded by the UK's electricity and gas transmission and distribution companies. Its members and associates include EDF Energy, ESB, Independent Power Networks, CE Electric, Laing Energy, National Grid, Network Rail, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Ireland Electricity, Scottish & Southern Energy, Scotia Gas Networks, Scottish Power, Tepco and Wales & West Utilities.

The ENA lobbies the government with policy recommendations and has helped shape the government's planning and energy bills.
Its work touches a very broad range of issues from health and safety, renewables, to copper theft, in particular on gas and electricity networks that supply UK buildings.

In the last few weeks, the ENA has given evidence to the House of Lords to two select committees.

At a select committee meeting on the economics of renewables, the ENA reinforced the issue of major planning required to fit renewables into existing UK power networks.
A shortage of skilled engineer and greater global demand on resources were highlighted by the association.
It said the global demand for large scale engineering kit, particularly from new power houses such as China and India, means kit may take as much as 14 months longer than it would have four years ago to arrive on site. An issue which should be factored into timelines for large renewables projects.

Speaking at the Tate Modern Gallery on May 7, director of distribution at Scottish and Southern Energy and the ENA deputy chairman Mark Mathieson said: 'Last September we asked David Smith to step into the breach and take on the role of acting chief executive.

'What has impressed us about David since taking up that challenge is that he didn't take the easy option of keeping things ticking over. Together with his senior team he has driven the board to review the purpose of the ENA and how we maintain relevance in a vastly changing environment'.
9 May 2008

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