A new public body will be created, charged with overseeing Britain’s energy network, supporting new technologies and boosting supply security.
Downing Street has announced that an organisation is being established to build greater energy resilience for the UK. Once legislation and timelines have been agreed, the Future Service Operator (FSO) will be responsible for auditing Great Britain’s energy system, promoting and facilitating the adoption of new technologies – for example, hydrogen – and better integrating existing networks.
The overall goal is to improve the security and self-sufficiency of energy supplies in response to skyrocketing fuel prices and the cost of living crisis, both of which have been exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The new body will be founded on existing capabilities of the Electricity System Operator (ESO) and – where appropriate – National Grid Gas (NGG). Working with suppliers and networks, the fundamental aim is to achieve a better balance of domestic electricity systems, and offer better forward planning for the gas system through greater strategic oversight
‘Russia’s appalling aggression in Ukraine amid escalating global gas prices has shown the vital importance of strategic change to the UK energy system. We need to boost our energy resilience, reduce our dependence on expensive imports and slash emissions. The FSO will do just that,’ said Energy Minister, Greg Hands.
The announcement comes ahead of the new Energy Security Strategy, which will be published Thursday 7th April, and follows a lengthy consultation process with the energy industry, which found widespread approval for the creation of a new public body, independent from government, delivering neutral advice and technical input to both Downing Street and the industry regulator, Ofgem. The latter has also now been given new strategic powers to oversee the governance codes of energy companies.
In related news, the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee has recommended that quarterly GDP reports be combined with information on net zero and green policy progress to better gauge the country’s economic and natural prosperity.
Image credit: Matthew Henry