Presidential Roundtable: how can Britain's electricity system be improved and simplified?

A summary of the key points raised at an online roundtable chaired by ICE’s President, featuring Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Green New Deal and Energy.

  • Updated: 01 April 2021
  • Author: Amy Cox, ICE Public Affairs Manager 
This roundtable, chaired by ICE President Rachel Skinner, was an in-conversation session with Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Minister for Green New Deal and Energy.

To discuss the question: how can Britain’s electricity system be improved and simplified?


Britain’s electricity system is mature, yet complex. Our energy system faces significant challenges if it is to meet the net-zero emissions target by 2050 – challenges such as how to increase the amount of energy generated by intermittent renewables; how we will heat our homes; the huge increase in electric vehicles needed to decarbonise transport - and how to do all this without overloading the grid while encouraging consumers to use energy at different times of day so that demand follows supply.

The Energy White Paper published late last year offers a vision, direction of travel and support for a more ‘dynamic’ electricity system.

But what does this mean in practice, and how does it interact with Ofgem’s recent recommendation that part of National Grid’s current role should be replaced with an independent systems operator?

This event was held under the Chatham House rule and discussed how the UK’s electricity system can be improved and simplified to balance consumers needs with the crucial transition to net-zero and the need to address long-term challenges.

Download this report