Top climate adviser to lead mission control centre to deliver clean power in UK

Top climate adviser Chris Stark is to lead a new control centre to try to spur on the Government’s mission to provide Britain with cheaper and clean power by 2030.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said that under Mr Stark’s leadership the new mission control centre “will have a laser-like focus on delivering our mission of clean power by 2030”.

The centre, the first of its kind in Government, is set to focus on accelerating the transition away from volatile fossil fuel markets to clean, homegrown power to boost Britain’s energy independence and cut bills.

Mr Stark, who spent six years as the Climate Change Committee (CCC) chief executive, said: “Tackling the climate crisis and accelerating the transition to clean power is the country’s biggest challenge, and its greatest opportunity.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband welcoming Chris Stark as two men follow behind
Energy Secretary Ed Miliband with Chris Stark, who is to lead a new control centre (Dan Dennison/Department for Energy Security and Net Zero/PA)

“By taking action now we can put the UK at the forefront of the global race to net zero – driving down our carbon emissions but also cutting bills for households.

“It is a privilege to head up this work alongside the country’s top energy experts who will make this mission a reality.”

Industry experts and officials will be tasked with trying to troubleshoot, negotiate and clear the way for energy projects.

Mission control has also been asked to work with key energy companies and organisations including the regulator Ofgem, the National Grid and the Electricity System Operator to remove obstacles and identify and resolve issues as they arise.

It is hoped this will speed up the connection of a new power infrastructure to the grid, along with cleaner, cheaper power to people’s homes and businesses.

Under Mr Stark’s leadership, CCC recommended a UK net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – a target that is now in law.

He was director of energy and climate change in the Scottish Government from May 2016 to April 2018.

Mr Miliband said: “Years of underinvestment has left our country suffering energy insecurity, with working people paying the price through their energy bills and a cost-of-living crisis.

“That cannot happen again.

“This new mission control centre, benefitting from the expertise and experience of Chris Stark’s leadership – and bringing together the brightest and best in the national interest – will have a laser-like focus on delivering our mission of clean power by 2030.

“Making Britain a clean energy superpower will not only keep bills down, it will also create hundreds of thousands of good jobs, while protecting national security by keeping dictators out of our energy markets. And, of course, it will allow us to play a leading role in tackling the climate crisis.”

Mr Miliband has also asked the Electricity System Operator (ESO), soon to be the National Energy System Operator, to provide independent advice on the pathway to 2030.

ESO chief executive Fintan Slye said he was “excited” to be working with Mr Miliband “on the blueprint for the future of our power system”.