Energy regulator Ofgem has today (16 November) announced plans to create regional energy planning roles across GB.
Ofgem hopes that the Regional Energy Strategic Planners (RESPs) will improve local energy planning and speed up the transition to net zero by enabling planners to create a clear roadmap for how local energy systems need to be developed to reach net zero.
The RESPs will work in tangent with organisations at a local level, such as local governments and gas and electricity networks, to improve the understanding of what infrastructure is needed to boost net zero prospects and ultimately attract investment for projects.
This could catalyse regional investment and help steer the UK towards its net zero target.
The Future System Operator (FSO), which was confirmed to be introduced by the government, has been revealed as the organisation responsible for implementing up to 13 RESPs across the country.
The introduction of the RESPs follows an extensive consultation Ofgem conducted earlier this year reviewing the operation of local energy systems. From this, it was stated that Ofgem was “considering RESPs to ensure plans were cohesive, coherent and clear to all”.
Shortly before this, Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) also announced that Local Area Energy Plans need to be mandatory to build a “energy system of the future” following its grid flexibility trials.
With the news that RESPs are officially to be integrated into the GB energy system, this is certain to be welcome news across the board.
Commenting on this announcement, Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “The creation of the FSO gives us a once in generation opportunity to design the energy system we need to get us to net zero.
“We’re already working on future energy network planning on a national level and creating RESPs means this can also now happen at a regional level. Ofgem looks forward to working with the System Operator and local leaders to create a joined-up roadmap leading to clean, flexible, and aligned future energy systems across GB.”
Alongside the creation of the regional energy planning roles across GB, the energy regulator also intends to introduce a new market facilitator function that will be responsible for delivering join up flexibility markets.
The facilitator would thus be responsible for market coordination, implementation, monitoring and strategic leadership, with Ofgem expected to publish a consultation soon which will look at which entity should deliver this new function.