Ofgem needs reform for UK to meet net zero goal

11th October 2019 | Commercial Energy

UK energy regulator Ofgem should have a statutory duty to promote the achievement of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a report from the National Infrastructure Commissions (NIC). The country will fail to reach its net zero goal unless Ofgem is given new powers to ensure investment in sustainable infrastructure, the NIC said in its “Strategic Investment and Public Confidence” report commissioned by the Treasury last year.

In addition, the NIC recommends the UK government set out a long-term vision for Ofgem through strategic policy statements within the first year of each Parliament to support lasting plans and stable funding. “The government has committed the UK to net zero by 2050, but if regulators aren’t equipped with a new duty to specifically reach this target, then it is simply unattainable,” said NIC chairman Sir John Armitt.


“The regulatory system must adapt to meet the demands of the future – and the great challenge we face to bring down emissions and build resilience against increasingly frequent extreme weather. If ministers are serious about a low-carbon revolution, they must act quickly and decisively to modernise the regulation.”
Trade association RenewableUK backed the calls to reform Ofgem, claiming it would help to deliver net zero emissions faster and cheaper.

“This will help to ensure that the renewable energy sector can attract the investment needed to build a low-carbon energy system as swiftly and as cheaply as possible for consumers,” said policy and regulation head Rebecca Williams. “Ofgem is not currently delivering on what is needed to meet out climate change goals, so we welcome the recommendation that it should have new duties to promote the UK’s legally-binding net zero emissions target,” she added.

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