Britain’s energy regulator needs an explicit mandate from lawmakers so it can be the UK’s centre for achieving Net Zero, leading energy & environmental bodies are urging the government.
The Electricity Networks Association and the Green Alliance claim backing from 200 energy practitioner & environmental groups including Renewable UK, as they warn Net Zero secretary Grant Shapps, pictured, that Britain will not achieve its 2050 goal of no excess carbon emissions, without the target being written into Ofgem’s goals.
Essential to securing the pledge, enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act, is giving Ofgem executive powers of oversight towards the goal, via their inclusion in the Energy Security Bill now before Parliament, ENA chief executive Lawrence Slade and Green Alliance director Shaun Spiers tell the secretary of state in their open letter.
“Government departments and the Future System Operator are all aligned with the 2008 Act, and it is vitally important that the regulator be aligned also”, the pair tell the energy secretary.
“Empowering Ofgem with a Net Zero mandate will allow for strategic investment, removing a clear barrier to investment in the low-cost, low-carbon energy system we are all working towards”, the practitioners tell the minister.
“As the first piece of primary legislation of this type in a decade, the Energy Security Bill is the prime opportunity to deliver this vital change”.
In addition, ministers need to empower Ofgem with its long-awaited Strategic Policy Statement, enabling the agency to embed Net Zero deeper into its policy direction.
The immediate pressures of tackling energy’s role in the cost of living crisis and strategic questions around energy security should not deter the government from addressing already committed long term goals, the bodies urge.
The letter comes as Ofgem seeks inputs from network firms over steps towards radical decentralisation and decarbonisation of Britain’s electricity systems.
The ENA nurtures strategic long-term thinking among Britain’s operators and investors in transmission & distribution networks. Bodies lending their backing to the latest plea include the Association of Decentralised Energy, the Global Infrastructure Investment Association & the Electricity Storage Network.
The end of March is the government’s deadline to comply with a High Court judgement secured by green groups to strengthen its Net Zero strategy. Judges agreed eight months ago with campaigners that Westminster’s published measures towards the goal lack necessary detail.