Britain eyes new body to run its energy systems and meet climate targets

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A farmer works in a field surrounded by electricity pylons in Ratcliffe-on-Soar, in central England, September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s government plans to create a new energy system operator to help the country meet its net zero emissions target, which could remove responsibilities now held by National Grid (NG.L), consultation documents published on Tuesday showed.

Britain in 2019 became the first member of the G7 group of rich countries to set a net zero target for 2050, which will require a huge increase in renewable electricity to wean homes off fossil fuels for heating.

"The gas and electricity system operators are currently part of National Grid Plc, creating a potential conflict of

interest that can already make it challenging to effectively discharge both existing roles... as well as potential new roles needed to fulfil net zero," the consultation document said.

Under the plans the new Future Systems Operator (FSO) would run the country's electricity system which is currently managed by National Grid's Electricity System Operator (ESO)

The proposal comes after Britain’s energy market regulator Ofgem recommended in January that an independent electricity body be set up to help meet the target.

Ofgem had recommended that the body should be fully separated from National Grid, which now oversees Britain's energy systems. read more

A spokesperson for National Grid said it welcomed the consultation and would work with the business ministry and Ofgem on the role of a future system operator, the most appropriate ownership model and any future related sale.

National Grid's ESO became a legally separate business within the National Grid Group in 2019.

“We’re driven by a shared goal to help Britain reach net zero by 2050, and that remains our long-term priority as we work towards being able to operate this country’s electricity system with zero carbon by 2025,” a spokesperson for National Grid ESO

said via email.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale Editing by Peter Graff and Louise Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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