The energy regulator Ofgem has today published its decarbonisation plan for the UK’s energy sector to support the growth of EVs, promote growth in offshore generation and unlock investment in green technologies. Its plan sets out nine actions to ensure energy networks can deliver the UK’s net zero emissions goals, including a programme to decarbonise heat and replace natural gas and action to support ten million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030.

A National Infrastructure Commission spokesperson said:

“Transforming the UK into a low carbon economy and meeting net zero emissions targets requires fundamental changes in how the country generates and uses energy. Whether that’s deploying hydrogen or heat pumps to replace natural gas for heating, creating the infrastructure to help drivers make the switch to electric vehicles, or using data to create smarter energy networks, future proofing energy is an urgent challenge we have to get right.

“Regulators have a crucial role in working with government and suppliers to help consumers and businesses adapt to meet the demands of the future, and Ofgem’s decarbonisation action plan is a welcome next step forward in that goal.”

In October 2019 the Commission published Strategic investment and public confidence, the final report of its Regulation Study. This showed that while the UK’s model of regulation for energy, water and telecoms had generated significant investment, it was not designed to address future challenges, such as achieving net zero carbon emissions, adapting to changing weather patterns and increasing digitalisation.

The Commission recommended the regulatory system should be strengthened and updated to improve public and political confidence in it and promote the necessary investment. It also proposed that the regulators, including Ofgem, should have new duties to promote the achievement of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and improve resilience.

The 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment recommended that government should make progress towards zero carbon heating through establishing the safety case for using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas, setting up community scale trials of hydrogen, and establishing an up to date evidence based on the performance of heat pumps within the UK’s building stock.

The Assessment also said that government, Ofgem and local authorities should enable the roll out of charging infrastructure sufficient to allow consumer demand to reach close to 100 per cent electric new car and van sales by 2030.