Our RIIO-2 plan and the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Fintan Slye, Director of the System Operator, on our newly-published RIIO-2 business plan, and how it will help the transition to net zero carbon while bringing benefits to consumers.

As Great Britain’s electricity system operator, we’re right at the heart of – and playing a key role in influencing – a transformation which is underway in the energy industry. We’re on a journey to achieving a zero carbon power system, which will be crucial to helping the UK meet its recent commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

There are challenges ahead of us. The movement away from traditional thermal power generation to renewables is bringing with it unprecedented opportunity, but also means we need to innovate, invest and adapt to maintain reliable and secure system operation.

And that is what we are doing. This week the ESO has reached a huge milestone – we’ve finalised our RIIO-2 business plan, the culmination of more than two years of hard work and extensive engagement with stakeholders.

Our business plan sets out what we propose to deliver between 2021 and 2026 and how, through our roles and activities, we will lead the zero carbon transition in Great Britain and deliver around £2 billion of consumer benefits, reducing the average annual energy bill by £3.

Read our RIIO-2 business plan

This is a really exciting time for us and for our industry. Our RIIO-2 plan is ambitious, innovative and lays the foundation for zero carbon operation of our electricity system by 2025, while driving the transition needed in the energy industry. We’ve worked extensively with stakeholders to ensure what we propose is supported by them and meets the needs of industry, regulators, policy makers, our customers and ultimately drive significant benefits for consumers.

Our business plan is founded on a vision for the next decade and beyond, and how we’ll meet the challenges of the changing energy landscape. As well as delivering new systems and market platforms, we must also transform our capability through investment in information technology, innovation and people. The introduction of a new RIIO-2 regulatory framework is an opportunity to put in place a funding model and incentive scheme that drives the right behaviours.  

We are ready to step up and become the ambitious, consumer-focused ESO that our stakeholders want us to be. Our business plan sets out how we will continue to ensure reliable, affordable, zero carbon energy for Great Britain. We will do this while delivering significant value to consumers. Climate change is the challenge of a generation, and the time to act is now.