Electricity System Operator (ESO) – Supplementary written evidence (LES0044)


The Electricity System Operator (ESO) submitted written evidence (LES0032) to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into long duration energy storage. The ESO gave oral evidence to the Committee on 24 October 2023.


The ESO is making a further written submission to the inquiry to supplement the discussion points raised at the oral evidence session and provide further clarification to the Committee on the Strategic Spatial Energy Plan.


Strategic Spatial Energy Plan


  1. We welcome the findings of the Electricity Networks Commissioner report[1].
  2. The energy system of the future must be efficient, it must be operable, and it must be fair and affordable for GB consumers.
  3. We agree that if Great Britain does not have a clear strategy for energy infrastructure projects essential to delivering national net zero targets, this could result in a disjointed approach to spatial planning.
  4. The Strategic Spatial Energy Plan can help achieve this through building a system that avoids duplication, increases the efficiency of energy infrastructure build and creates more certainty for investors, asset developers and Transmission Owners.
  5. The Plan should deliver a whole energy system that brings national planning and local planning for decarbonisation together. This will ensure that a single baseline plan that works for Great Britain’s energy system is available and that other plans e.g. hydrogen networks, CO2 networks can be drawn from it over time.
  6. If the Plan is built in this way, it can provide the confidence required to national and local representatives of the investment required and accelerate delivery of infrastructure.
  7. Given the speed at which energy infrastructure build must take place in Great Britain to deliver a net zero electricity system by 2035, a decision is required on whether an iterative approach to the Plan would be beneficial in delivering it as quickly as possible.
  8. This iterative approach could first focus on electricity, for example, and begin to look at different vectors e.g. gas initially and hydrogen over time.
  9. Delivery time for either an iteration or a full version of the Plan will be set by the Government.
  10.          The Electricity Networks Commissioner Report recommended that the Future System Operator should be apportioned the responsibility of delivering the Strategic Spatial Energy Plan.
  11.          The ESO is working closely with both the Government and Ofgem to understand what the scope, timescales and format of the Plan would be, how responsibilities for the Plan would be spread and how it would be appropriately governed, should the responsibility come to us.
  12.          The ESO is continuously building the whole energy system expertise required to deliver as a Future System Operator. Should the Government set the Future System Operator the task of delivering the Strategic Spatial Energy Plan, we believe that the transformation process already underway within our organisation will sufficiently equip the organisation to deliver a Plan that benefits Great Britain.


14 November 2023


[1] Nick Winser (2023) Electricity Networks Commissioner report