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GB energy sector must be joined-up to meet Net Zero targets

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) believes that the UK must learn lessons from Covid-19 and is calling for a significant acceleration in decarbonising our economy.

The IET is calling on Government to:

  • Establish a Systems Engineering Advisory Group for energy, to bring together the multi-disciplinary expertise required to meet the Net Zero challenge
  • Commit to and implement an agile Whole System approach to achieving Net Zero
  • Urgently review, with stakeholders, how the current legal and regulatory structure of the energy industry could be reformed to facilitate the Net Zero transition for a range of scenarios
  • IET is calling on government to put in place arrangements to enable smaller stakeholders (supply chain, SMEs, innovation/start-ups etc.) to be actively involved in the sector

Craig Lucas, Chair of the IET Energy Policy Panel said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically shown how interconnected our world is; internationally and locally. It has also highlighted the interdependencies, unintended consequences, resilience issues and risks within complex systems that have multiple human, technical, regulatory and commercial interfaces.

“It has also clearly demonstrated why society needs a joined-up approach to deal with such crises, now and in the future. This learning can be applied to address the challenges of the climate emergency as we navigate a path to Net Zero.

“We urgently need to see a Whole Systems approach using systems engineering principles if the green recovery and energy transition are to be realised. We ask Government to urgently consider this.”

In 2021, the IET celebrates its 150th anniversary. Throughout this period the IET has played a fundamental role in shaping the economy and society through many challenging times.



Notes to editors:

Whole System thinking embraces people, institutions, markets, technology, policy and regulation. It is holistic. It takes account of the relationships between multiple systems and is enabled by an agile, inclusive and co-ordinated governance and regulatory regime so that decisions can be taken and implemented in a timely manner. It eliminates silo thinking, enhancing the functionality and efficiency of whole systems while recognising the needs of smaller sub-systems and touchpoints.

Net Zero encompasses agriculture, industry, transport, people, communities, government, education, communication, digital and energy. This is why we need a Whole System approach – to enable us to understand how the different sectors and stakeholders interact; the trade-offs that result and how to prioritise action in the most efficient and effective way.

The IET worked with the Energy Systems Catapult on the Future Power System Architecture (FPSA) project; applying systems engineering principles to the future development of our power system. This project identified the functionality that the power system requires to facilitate decarbonisation and an agile governance mechanism to efficiently deliver it.

Although focused on power systems, the FPSA learning and methodology can, and should be replicated across the wider carbon reduction agenda. 

The FPSA outputs have already been widely disseminated across the original target audience, but the IET is keen to share this learning as widely as possible, particularly as energy is such a fundamental element of the journey to Net Zero. The key findings from the FPSA project were:

  • Government policies relating to carbon reduction must be properly informed and connected by the application of “system engineering principles”.
  • Recognition that systems are about people as much as technology. All relevant stakeholders, particularly those developing new and disruptive technologies, must be engaged.
  • Renewed vigour should be applied to the delivery of agile governance designed to actively facilitate change.


About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit
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Rebecca Gillick
External Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)7725 498 129

Sophie Lockhart
Senior Communications Executive
T: +44 (0)7872 844 422