How to keep the lights on – UK gears up for worst-case energy scenarios

(The Guardian, 10 Jul 2022) New supply chief Jonathan Mills starts drafting plans to safeguard winter supplies amid war in Ukraine.

He is the man charged with keeping the lights on this winter. A seasoned civil servant, Jonathan Mills was last month named director general for energy supply in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In a blog entitled: “What do policymakers do all day?” – a nod to the children’s author Richard Scarry – he set out his approach to working in government earlier this year. “The way that I now think of a policy professional is as an ‘orchestrator’,” he said. Mills, who previously oversaw labour market policy, and before that electricity market reform, now faces the orchestration job of his life.

His appointment reflects the growing concerns over Britain’s energy supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Monday, Russia is closing Nord Stream 1, its main gas pipeline into Germany. The shutdown has been presented as a planned 10-day maintenance period, but there are fears the pipeline will not reopen, plunging Europe’s largest manufacturing nation into an energy crisis. Although Britain is not reliant on Russian gas, if supply drops, prices will rise even further.

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The Guardian, 10 Jul 2022: How to keep the lights on – UK gears up for worst-case energy scenarios