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‘The devil is in the detail’: Industry reactions to Ofgem’s decarbonisation action plan, part one

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Ofgem’s decarbonisation programme action plan was unleashed today (3 February), with nine points spread across energy networks, flexibility, electric vehicles, data and supply among others.

The plan details Ofgem’s actions for the next eighteen months, including action it is to take within the regulator itself.

Here, the industry has its say on Ofgem's plans for facilitating decarbonisation.

Audrey Gallacher, interim chief executive, Energy UK:

“It’s welcome to see Ofgem’s decarbonisation action plan – if we’re to meet our target it is critical to have a regulatory regime that supports decarbonisation and is not seen as a hindrance.

“Our industry is committed to delivering net zero by 2050 and has been world-leading in reducing emissions but we now need to go further and faster and ensure that other sectors like transport and heat follow suit. Our sector will play a pivotal role in the rollout of electric vehicles and low carbon heating alternatives – areas which also show how consumers’ habits and lives will change.

“The plan rightly recognises the importance of delivering net zero and the need to protect vulnerable customers. While much of what Ofgem is proposing is encouraging, the devil is in the detail and it will now be crucial that government, the industry and the regulator work together to deliver the actions in practice.”

Frank Gordon, head of policy, Renewable Energy Association:

“The REA has been calling for reform of Ofgem for some time. We believe that decarbonisation must be a central mandate to the regulator and that the regulator must prioritise modernisation of the energy systems, so that they can deliver a major expansion of renewable energy generation and EV charging capacity to ensure the UK meets the 5th Carbon Budget (to 2032).

“This plan and the proposed changes at Ofgem are steps in the right direction; the new Net Zero Advisory Group is particularly welcome. We look forward to engaging with the further details of Ofgem's decarbonisation ambitions, however, we believe that the government must revise Ofgem’s mandate to include decarbonisation and greater urgency in addressing the most pressing issues facing our energy system in order to achieve our net zero ambitions."

Frank Mitchell, chief executive, SP Energy Networks:

"We welcome this new approach from Ofgem as we know our communities care deeply about net zero. Our sector has been fundamental to decarbonising the UK energy sector through connecting renewables. The next stage is to do the same in transport and heat to ensure net zero plans are achieved, we need action in the short term to see real progress on the ground and also ensuring the available returns on investment attract the capital needed into the UK."

Rebecca Williams, head of policy and regulation, RenewableUK:

“We welcome Ofgem’s commitment to decarbonisation; the steps set out today are vital to enable the four-fold growth of offshore wind in this decade.

“To get the energy sector on track for net zero, we need to ensure that Ofgem's decisions support rapid decarbonisation and investment in renewables. The next step forward will be for Ofgem to set out how the grid should operate to meet net zero emissions, including the way it charges renewables for access. We look forward to working with Ofgem on this.”

Peter Emery, CEO, Electricity North West:

“Reaching net zero will take committed effort from everyone – consumers, businesses, those working in the energy sector and those whose work could help transform the way we use electricity.

“As the network operator for the north west, we believe it’s our responsibility to lead the way with this transformation – both by using our expertise to help others looking to cut their emissions but also by setting an example in our own organisation.”

A spokesperson for The National Infrastructure Commission:

“Transforming the UK into a low carbon economy and meeting net zero emissions targets requires fundamental changes in how the country generates and uses energy. Whether that’s deploying hydrogen or heat pumps to replace natural gas for heating, creating the infrastructure to help drivers make the switch to electric vehicles, or using data to create smarter energy networks, future proofing energy is an urgent challenge we have to get right.

“Regulators have a crucial role in working with government and suppliers to help consumers and businesses adapt to meet the demands of the future, and Ofgem’s decarbonisation action plan is a welcome next step forward in that goal.”


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