Press release

IET responds to House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on Resilience of the Electricity System

12 March 2015

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has responded to today’s report, which sets out very clearly the steps required to deliver a resilient electricity system during the massive changes taking place as the UK makes the transition to low carbon energy.

Dr Simon Harrison from the IET said: “The ultimate aim has to be to achieve resilience over the long term and without allowing consumer costs to spiral unnecessarily – so we are pleased  that the Select Committee report has taken on board so fully our recommendations for whole systems thinking.  

“Resilience is not achieved by picking off and solving individual problems but results from the inter-play of the inter-related components and factors that form the whole electricity system.  Since the last period when electricity resilience was an issue, the three-day week in the 1970s, the underlying issues and the opportunities for resolving them have become significantly more diverse.

“These include large amounts of self-dispatching renewable generation, the potential electrification of transport and space heating, and the rise of the smart consumer and smart home.   These increase complexity and require a level of engineering coordination and integration that the current industry structure and market regime does not provide. In turn this increased complexity presents potentially substantially increased vulnerability to cyber threats.

“We look forward to continue working with the Government and others to continue to move this debate forward. This will allow coherent engineering solutions to be developed and implemented to allow us to decarbonise electricitysuch that resilience is ensured, whilst also optimising costs to consumers.”

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interviews are available with Dr Simon Harrison, Chairman of the IET Energy Policy Panel who was the first oral witness called to give evidence.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.