Growing support for regional energy planning reform

Mayor Andy Street and other Metro Mayors representing nearly a third of the UK’s residents have thrown their support behind Ofgem’s proposed regional planning reform.

The initiative aims to streamline local energy planning, cut red tape, and aid regions in developing roadmaps for achieving net-zero emissions. The reform builds on earlier measures to expedite grid connections and enhance transmission infrastructure.

Ofgem’s CEO, Jonathan Brearley, hosted a summit with Metro Mayors and local leaders such as Mayor Andy Street, Tracy Brabin (West Yorkshire), Steve Rotheram (Liverpool) and Cllr Gerald Cooney (Greater Manchester) to accelerate this planning reform, looking to ensure cleaner, greener energy distribution across Great Britain.

Ofgem’s plans include creating detailed regional energy plans, facilitated by Regional Energy Strategic Planners (RESPs), who will collaborate with local authorities and industry stakeholders.

The roundtable discussions focused on designing these roles, enhancing local energy planning, and facilitating accountability, with insights from Mayors guiding the reform process.

Andy Street said: “Since it was set up in 2017, the Energy Capital partnership has worked hard to give the West Midlands a voice in energy system planning – so it is great news that we have been heard by Ofgem with this announcement, the most significant step-change in devolving energy decision-making for decades.

“Improving energy infrastructure is not only crucial for us to meet our #WM2041 net zero pledge, it will create warmer more efficient homes for our residents, support our businesses to reduce energy costs and reach net zero, and decarbonise our transport systems.

“It will also generate new jobs and skills opportunities to drive the green economy and pull together public and private finance to overcome barriers to growth. All powered by smart technology and some of the cutting-edge digitalisation projects that Energy Capital are developing, and fundamentally led by partners through a genuine place-based regional approach.”