Consistency in approach from policy makers is key to encouraging greater investment in the energy sector, a major event hosted by law firm Addleshaw Goddard has heard.

Richard Goodfellow, who heads the international law firm’s energy and utilities practice, told the event that greater energy efficiency was “becoming a key economic part” of the energy debate.

Hosted by Addleshaw Goddard and organised by business lobbying organisation the CBI, the ‘Achieving a secure, affordable and low-carbon future’ event saw a panel of senior figures, including CBI Director General John Cridland, Shadow Secretary of State for energy and climate change Caroline Flint and GE UK and Ireland President and Chief Executive Mark Elborne, debate the major issues affecting the sector.

Professor Samuel Fankhauser, Co-Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment at the London of Economics, made up the heavyweight panel.

Mr Goodfellow said: “As someone who works with businesses investing their money, what is the chief concern I see over and over again? It is investment uncertainty.

“Consistency in approach so that investors can plan long term is the key thing we want from policy makers. Whether investing in assets or in making our businesses insulated against price risk we want to see consistency in approach.”

Mr Cridland said that politicians had to “think long-term” about the country’s energy future.

“We’ve got a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our energy infrastructure and build a system that is robust, sustainable and future-proof for the next generations,” he said.

“We need our politicians to keep an eye on that prize and maintain the trust and confidence of industry.”

Adding to the investment debate, he told the 100-strong audience: “As we all know, market uncertainty is a sure-fire way to make an investor think twice about where they are going to put their money.

“We all know that we are facing a major investment challenge. We are currently embarking on the biggest transformation of our energy market since privatisation. This will require £110bn of private sector investment.

“We also need to diversify our energy mix, so that we are not relying on any one fuel or technology – we want to see a future where we are getting our power from a mix of nuclear, renewables and gas, eventually with carbon capture and storage in order to achieve our low carbon targets to which the CBI is committed.

“Whichever way you look at it, we’re going to need investment in a balanced energy portfolio if we are to ensure a secure, low-carbon and affordable system for the future.”

Mr Cridland said that politicians had to “think long-term” about the country’s energy future.

Mr Goodfellow concluded: “We understand that world energy markets and policy is uncertain. What we do not need is the levers that politicians have also to contribute to that uncertainty.

“I feel privileged to work in an industry with people spending large sums of money on complex matters. I hope people keep on spending that money.”

Simplifying energy and regulation, as well as the idea of giving consumers a bigger say in determining policy, were also discussed at the event, which was held at Addleshaw Goddard’s Milton Gate office in London.