New DG role for DECC in restructuring

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has created a new director general-level role, in an effort to rebalance the department’s workload.

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By Winnie.Agbonlahor

19 Nov 2013

DECC permanent secretary Stephen Lovegrove told CSW  that after arriving at the department in February, he became “concerned about the way that workloads [for] most senior members of our teams were panning out.”

He dissolved the previous two policy and implementation groups – ‘international climate change and energy efficiency’ and ‘electricity, markets and infrastructure’ – and created three new groups: ‘finance and corporate services’, headed up by Angie Ridgwell, ‘international science and resilience’, led by Katrina Williams, and ‘consumers and households’, for which a new DG will be appointed soon.

Making the case for a new DG to the Treasury and the Cabinet Office, Lovegrove said, was “extremely easy”, as it was a “simple question of business necessity”. He said that DECC’s projects are of “national and international significance” and that it is “in nobody’s interest for them to be under-resourced”.

Asked by CSW whether DECC had any involvement in government plans to roll back environmental taxes on Britain’s energy sector, Lovegrove said that “discussions are on-going” and that a decision is likely to be announced as part of next month’s autumn statement.

He also defended the government’s new £16bn nuclear deal, which has widely been criticised for being costly, with a strike price of almost twice the current wholesale cost of electricity.

But Lovegrove dismissed this comparison as “unhelpful and misleading”, because of how unpredictable energy price changes are. The next plant likely to be developed, he added, will be a unit in Wylfa, in North Wales, which is “aiming to start generating [energy] in the first half of the 2020s”.

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