Shapps to lead new Net Zero Government department

Aaron Morby 1 year ago
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled plans to split the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy into three separate departments in a Whitehall shake-up.

Grant Shapps becomes first secretary of state for Energy Security and Net Zero
Grant Shapps becomes first secretary of state for Energy Security and Net Zero

This will see the creation of a new UK Government Department for Energy Security and Net Zero with Grant Shapps as its first secretary of state.

The big rejig of the Whitehall machine will also see a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, led by former culture secretary Michelle Donelan, and a Department for Business and Trade, led by former international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Civils contractors today lent their backing to the move and said it would allow a new emphasis on securing the low-carbon mixed portfolio of energy generation the UK needs.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association director Marie-Claude Hemming said: “The Prime Minister’s creation of a dedicated department for energy will, if accompanied by sufficient levels of investment, drive the UK’s mission to deliver a clean energy future.

“It offers the opportunity to turbo-charge the UK’s dash for green growth in light of the changing face of the energy sector, not least due to recent spikes in energy costs caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Christophe Junillon, Managing Director for Nuclear & Power, EMEA, Atkins, said: “The UK must double the size of its energy system and build new generation at five times the current rate to meet Government targets to decarbonise power by 2035.

“The new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero should enable the focus needed to plan and deliver clean, affordable and secure energy.

“The most urgent priorities to ensure our future energy security and deliver net zero must be to: accelerate the development of proven nuclear and offshore wind; address the need for significant increases in energy storage; and build new transmission and distribution infrastructure to connect and provide energy to where the demand is greatest.

“In parallel the UK will need to progress new technology such as nuclear SMR and carbon capture and storage; and swiftly determine the role hydrogen could play in our energy system.

“The scale and size of the UK’s energy transition will create opportunities for economic growth across the country: a department focused on prioritising its delivery and accelerating the pace of new generation is a positive step forward.”

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