Part of the national grid will be returned to public ownership under a new plan to help Britain reach its climate goals.
The utility company will sell its Electricity System Operator (ESO) arm to the government and then become part of a new Future System Operator (FSO).
According to the plan announced on Wednesday, the new authority will oversee Britain’s power system and other projects, such as carbon capture and offshore wind networks.
Jonathan Briarley, chief executive of energy regulator OfGame, said: “A completely independent system operator will help transform Great Britain’s energy system and help customers cut energy bills.
“Critically, the FSO will ensure that we build a smart, efficient and flexible system that means Britain will move to a safer, lower carbon and lower cost system.”
The government did not say how much it would cost to renovate the unit, but said the national grid would receive “adequate compensation,” although a final agreement had not yet been reached.
Last year the government announced its plan for the UK to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, but the goal requires big changes – and big spending.
The Government Office for Budget Liability estimates that the total investment in public and private funds from 2050 to 2050 will be 4 1.4trn, although it adds that this sum will be offset by more than £ 1trn as savings.
In January, the Climate Change Committee, an independent body advising the government, said spending needed to reach 50 50 billion a year by 2030, five times what is currently being spent.
The Net Zero plan will also require a lot of extra electricity as electric cars gradually replace their petrol and diesel predecessors and gas boilers are gradually replaced by heat pumps.
John Pettigrew, boss at National Grid, said: “We are working closely with government, industry and regulators to create a future system operator that enables long-term holistic thinking, advances towards net-zero and lays the groundwork for necessary regulatory reform. To provide a clean, fair and affordable energy transfer. “
ESO employs about 1,000 people and is owned by National Grid, although the two were separated in 2019.
No job losses are expected and the government has said there will be “no adverse material effects” on consumer energy bills.
“By building our track record and expertise as one of the world’s leading system operators, we will work with industry and government and regulators to help deliver a cost-effective, reliable and clean transition for all,” said ESO Executive Director Finton Sly.