The energy sector has welcomed the creation of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of a governmental reshuffle.
It will “provide dedicated leadership focused on delivering security of energy supply, ensuring properly functioning markets, greater energy efficiency and seizing the opportunities of net zero to lead the world in new green industries”, according to a briefing outlining the four new departments being launched.
The new department – which comes from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy being divided – will be led by Grant Shapps.
DESNZ’s key priorities will be:
- Ensuring security of energy supply this winter, next winter and in the longer term. This will include bringing down energy bills and reducing inflation.
- Ensuring the UK is on track for net zero, and supporting economic growth by “significantly speeding up delivery” of network infrastructure and domestic energy.
- Improving the energy efficiency of homes, businesses and public sector buildings to meet the country’s 15% demand reduction ambition.
- Delivering the current energy bills support schemes for customers, and developing options for the long-term reform of the electricity market
- Seizing the economic benefits of net zero, including jobs and growth through investment in green industries
- Passing the Energy Bill to support emerging sectors such as carbon, capture, utilisation and storage and hydrogen, to update energy system governance and reduce the consent time for offshore wind.
“The creation of a dedicated department focused on energy security and net zero is very welcome. These are substantial topics and it’s correct that the Prime Minister recognises this,” said Ross Easton, interim chief executive of Energy Network Association (ENA).
“That said, the proof is not in the name or the Whitehall machinery, but in the delivery of high-quality policy which supports safe, secure, sustainable and reliable energy supplies for customers – now and in the future. That is the real test. We are looking forward to working with the Secretary of State and his team to deliver this.”
Along with Shapps, DESNZ will be led by Jeremy Pocklington as permanent secretary and Clive Maxwell as second permanent secretary, as well as Jonathan Mills, Ashley Ibbett, Ben Rimmington, Lee McDonough and Paul Monks as directors.