On 21 June 2023, the Public Accounts Committee published its report to the government following the stakeholder call for evidence ended on 13 March.
Key point: The committee pushes the government to publish an overarching and coherent delivery strategy for the scattered decarbonisation plans.
The recent call for evidence from the PAC seek views from the public and other stakeholders regarding the government’s strategy to decarbonise the power sector. Pulling together a response, the committee states that a coherent decarbonisation delivery plan is necessary if the government to reach its net zero targets on time.
The government’s ambitious goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2035 is crucial for achieving overall net zero emissions by 2050. To ensure this, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published various strategies and plans, including the Net Zero Strategy and the British Energy Security Strategy. However, there is a need for a coherent delivery plan that brings these initiatives together, allowing for a realistic assessment of their feasibility and effective coordination.
The lack of an overarching delivery plan jeopardises the government’s achievement of its challenging ambition to decarbonise the power sector by 2035
Such a plan would not only provide confidence to the private sector, which plays a vital role in investing in new infrastructure, but also address the recent policy instability that has shaken investor trust. Without a comprehensive delivery plan, there is a risk of capital investment moving away from the UK, especially considering the significant investments made by other countries in decarbonizing their own power sectors.
In addition to internal coordination, the Department must also influence other relevant departments to support power sector decarbonization efforts. Furthermore, promoting consumer behavior changes and implementing energy efficiency measures could help reduce overall electricity demand, especially during peak usage times. However, the government lacks clear plans in these areas, as recent energy bills have prioritized cost reduction for consumers over reducing energy demand.