Ofgem published its decarbonisation programme action plan today (3 February), outlining its plans for the next eighteen months.

The plan – which spans nine action points – makes commitments to facilitating the electric vehicle roll-out, reviewing the distribution networks price controls and supporting flexibility.

The industry’s views on the action plan are below.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive, SSEN:

“Thirty years from 2050 and with COP26 this year, it is encouraging to see government, industry, and, now, the energy regulator, standing united in driving efforts to decarbonise at pace and build on the UK’s leading position. The true test will be, however, in the delivery. We need a market that accelerates renewable energy deployment, gets spades in the ground on carbon capture and storage, and creates a financeable framework for energy networks to invest strategically and fully unlock the potential of low-carbon transport and heat.

“This action plan is a positive start and Ofgem should now be empowered to do more by having net zero built into its core remit, so that its intentions aren’t limited by its statute. I look forward to government providing this clarity in its forthcoming White Paper.”

David Smith, chief executive, Energy Networks Association:

“Net zero and how to achieve it is one of the biggest challenges facing our communities today. Ofgem’s report recognises how far we have come and the role networks have played, but there’s even further to go. A whole systems approach, including the use of hydrogen and biogas, will require innovation, research, different regulatory models, working with new partners and the ability to continue to attract investment to secure a green future. We support Ofgem’s action plan and look forward to playing our role in achieving net zero.”

Caroline Bragg, head of policy, the Association for Decentralised Energy:

“The ADE welcomes the trajectory set out in the Ofgem Decarbonisation Action Plan. We are looking forward to work with Ofgem as it leads in making the energy system work locally for users. With a few adjustments to the regulation of price signals and zoning, decentralised energy has great potential to contribute even more to reaching net zero and we hope to see our technologies become as recognisable as the wind turbine and the electric vehicle.”

Keith Anderson, chief executive, ScottishPower:

“Ofgem’s Decarbonisation Programme couldn’t come at a better time.

“By playing a pivotal role in the drive to net zero and making sure this delivers in a fair way for all communities, Ofgem is setting out a bold, constructive and exciting agenda for change.

“I welcome the ambition, the emphasis on innovation, and the commitment to work with industry, government, including our devolved administrations and city authorities, in a new partnership that delivers fairly for all consumers and communities across the UK.

“This could be a game-changer in how we deliver the economic, social and environmental benefits of net zero for everyone.”

Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director, Northern Powergrid:

“We welcome the clear message that Jonathan Brearley is delivering to the industry on his first day as CEO through the Decarbonisation Plan; it is exactly what’s needed.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Ofgem and stakeholders across our operating area to deliver on this vital agenda. Jonathan’s message chimes with our vision for our future network, set out in our DSO plan published last year. This sets out how the power grid can underpin decarbonisation and enable the move to net zero.

“Through our current operations and future ED2 business plan, on which we will be consulting extensively this year, we will continue to invest and innovate to create a smarter network that supports decarbonisation, enables economic growth and makes our region more resilient and prosperous.”

Juliet Davenport, CEO, Good Energy:

“Ofgem is beginning to make the right noises in this report, but it needs to be much bolder to deliver a zero carbon Britain. To truly protect the customer of the future, we need to protect the planet we live on. The most cost effective way of doing this is by putting British businesses and households at the heart of the solution to the climate emergency, allowing every part of the system to be part of a zero carbon Britain, not excluding the small guys and in the process handing the reins to the incumbents who caused the problems in the first place.

“One really positive step is Ofgem’s acknowledgment of the role of truly green tariffs in doing this. This is the starting block for changing consumer behaviour. We welcome this and encourage Government to set a policy and regulatory principle of “no backward steps” on zero carbon.”

Ian Johnston, CEO, Engenie:

“The transport and energy sectors are no longer two separate entities – both are becoming increasingly reliant on each other as electrification becomes mainstream and the energy applications of EVs become better understood. Ofgem’s commitment to develop a smart, flexible energy system capable of managing millions of EVs is welcome and established private infrastructure developers, such as Engenie, stand ready to share our learnings to help embed progressive policies.”

Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility, Kaluza:

“These are some encouraging words from Ofgem, particularly regarding the future of flexibility. Recent regulatory changes have caused a ripple of concern among innovative companies in the sector, but today’s Action Plan is reassuring. We look forward to working with Ofgem to unleash the full potential of flexible, low carbon technologies for the benefit of networks and customers, and to make sure action means action.”

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