A new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has been launched today by Prime minister Rishi Sunak, tasked with “securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation”.
Being headed up by Grant Shapps MP, previously appointed by Mr Sunak as Secretary of State at BEIS, the new department has been created to combat the incredibly high energy bills faced by businesses and consumers over the last year and to drive forward the generation of more homegrown energy from both nuclear and renewable sources, as the country strives to achieve its’ Net Zero targets.
The move effectively sees the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) broken up, in order to form a dedicated energy department, something Mr Sunak vowed to do during the Tory leadership competition versus Liz Truss. Business and trade will be merged into one department, headed by Kemi Badenoch, and a new department focused on science, innovation and technology will be established, led by Michelle Donelan.
Cautious optimism has been shown by the energy sector following the announcement, with the majority calling for urgent action and an avoidance of any further delays to the steps necessary to achieve a clean energy system.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) said:
“An energy department with a focus on Net Zero is welcome, as long as the Government now hits the ground running and avoids the usual delays while new departments are established.
“Decision making in the sector has already been woefully delayed over the last few years, and a joined-up approach across these new departments is essential, as well as implementing the recommendations from Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Report “Mission Zero”, which clearly stated that “Net Zero is the largest growth opportunity of the 21st century.”
“The REA looks forward to working closely with the new departments to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and clean technology, tackling the joint energy and climate crises.”
Energy UK’s CEO, Emma Pinchbeck said:
“Energy UK called for a dedicated Energy Department, because of the pivotal importance of energy for every home and every business in the country – and the UK economy – and because of the scale of work needed to achieve a secure low carbon energy system and to deliver affordable bills for customers.
“While this focused new Department is welcome, its significance depends on whether we now see the urgent progress we are calling for, right now, to help with the ongoing energy crisis and to make sure the UK maintains its market position as a leader in Net Zero investment and infrastructure.
“A secure, affordable energy system needs urgent action – from helping customers switch to low carbon heating and make their homes and businesses energy efficient, to tackling the affordability crisis as well as removing barriers resulting from the planning system and grid capacity. In a regulated market, industry and Government need to work together. We stand ready to do our share and to support with this massive job of work for the new Department.”