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UK Government forms new Energy Security & Net Zero department

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The UK Government has announced the formation of the Energy Security and Net Zero department, which will be headed by Grant Shapps MP. 

This isn’t the first time the UK has had a dedicated Government department for energy, with the 1973 oil crisis forcing the formation of the Department of Energy in 1974. However that department was disbanded in 1992 following the privatisation of the energy industries. It returned in 2008 as the Department of Energy and Climate Change before being dissolved again in 2016. 

You know what they say, third time’s the charm and the formation of the Energy Security & Net Zero department comes at a critical time for the UK. It will be tasked with “securing our long term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation,” with its top priority being getting the energy crisis under control. 

The new department should also put the UK back on the front foot when it comes to decarbonisation, with Sunak’s Government recently being criticised for squandering the country’s commanding lead in the green industrial revolution, which was spearheaded by Boris Johnson. 

Leading engineering services trade body ECA has broadly welcomed the creation of the new Government Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

The body, which represents 3,000 electrotechnical businesses and 66,000 professionals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, says the move has the potential to make a step change in the efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Paul Reeve, ECA Director of CSR, commented, “We trust the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will rapidly engage not only with the Government’s own net zero carbon commitments, but also the recent recommendations of the Skidmore review, which confirmed the huge economic and other benefits of actively pursuing Net Zero.

“The new Department must focus on boosting UK low carbon energy from renewables and nuclear, and the skills base that will ensure safe and reliable delivery.

“In the context of achieving energy resilience and net zero, it should also review the strategic potential for tidal energy to provide a major, storable renewable energy resource for the UK.”

Doug Parr from Greenpeace is less enthusiastic about the formation of the new Government department, noting that nothing will change unless it is provided with new powers and funding. 

“Without other fundamental reforms, re-establishing a Department for Energy will be as helpful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he said. 

“It’s Government policy and underinvestment that is holding back real action on the climate and energy crises, not the departments or ministers in place. Unless the new-look Department for Energy is given the freedom and funding to rapidly scale up renewable energy production – both offshore and on – to sure-up domestic supply, as well as roll out a nationwide scheme to insulate the tens of millions of energy-wasting homes across the country, what’s the point?”Parr’s words are especially poignant given the recent revelations that England installed just two onshore wind turbines in 2022 in the midst of the energy crisis, despite them providing the cheapest form of electricity.

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