Ofgem takes action for decarbonisation

By William Girling
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has published a comprehensive plan on its website for attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. Noting th...

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has published a comprehensive plan on its website for attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Noting that overall emissions in the UK had fallen 40% since 1990, reportedly more progress than any other advanced economy, Ofgem is confident that the targets it is implementing can be readily achieved. 

Outlining a nine-point plan of action, the company has set out the actions it will take to ensure the infrastructure for national carbon neutrality is feasible:

  1. We will build adaptability into our price controls to ensure network companies invest efficiently and are able to adapt to changes in technology and infrastructure.

  2. We will set up a regulatory fund to unlock investment in innovative solutions to tackle climate change.

  3. We will explore, with government and industry, opportunities for greater coordination to enable rapid expansion of an offshore grid at lowest cost.

  4. We will harness our existing knowledge and expertise to help government and the industry develop cost-effective and low risk options to decarbonise heating.

  5. We are reviewing the way our energy systems are managed to ensure they are fit for a net-zero future.

  6. We will create a more flexible electricity system to ensure that consumers will benefit from the lowest cost transition to a reliable net-zero system.

  7. We will develop a regulatory strategy on electric vehicles to support roll out and maximise the benefits to consumers.

  8. We will support innovation and experimentation, particularly in the retail market, to create low carbon products and services that will directly benefit consumers.

  9. We will respond to the need to take big decisions facing a deeply uncertain future by becoming more adaptive in the way we work and in our regulatory approaches.

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A lifestyle shift is required

The principle change will be the green revolution’s transformation of people’s daily lives, Ofgem’s plan says. The proliferation of renewable/low-carbon sources of energy and widespread adoption of EVs were highlighted as fundamental shifts.

Of the latter, the company said that EV usage would potentially need to grow from 230,000 to 39 million by 2050 - over a 1,500% increase. 

In the shorter-term (up to 2030), Ofgem plans to invest in EV infrastructure, develop offshore wind power capabilities and create an innovation fund for scientists and engineers to find solutions to the climate crisis.

“Britain has come a long way. It has decarbonised faster than any other major economy, but we must go further, particularly on heat and transport,” said Jonathan Brearley, CEO. 

“It is now vital that the energy industry rises to the challenge and demonstrates how it will work with the Government and Ofgem to decarbonise Britain’s energy system at lowest cost.”

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