Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry has appointed the University of Strathclyde’s professor Keith Bell to the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Bell, who is a co-director of the UK Energy Research Centre, will serve a five-year term as the committee’s power sector specialist.

He replaces professor Jim Skea, who stepped down from the position in December 2018, having served for more than a decade.

The CCC, formed under the 2008 Climate Change Act, is an independent non-departmental body that advises the UK and devolved governments on climate change programmes and preparations.

Bell is professor of electronic and electrical engineering and also holds positions with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the IET Power Academy, the Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Electriques (CIGRE), the European Energy Research Alliance, and as Scottish Power chair in Smart Grids at the University of Strathclyde.

Committee chairman Lord Deben, who was recently questioned by MPs as part of an energy efficiency enquiry, said: “I am thrilled to welcome professor Keith Bell to the Committee on Climate Change. Keith brings extensive experience from his work within the power sector and his expertise will be vital as we look to the solutions for decarbonising transport and heat.”

Bell added: “The science is clear: man-made climate change represents a significant threat to the environment, lifestyles and economies of the world. As one of the world’s leading economies, the UK has a responsibility to play its part in tackling this challenge.

“Real progress is being made around the world in decarbonising electricity; that journey is not yet complete with some serious issues to tackle, but an even greater challenge in the energy sector now is decarbonising transport and heat.

“It’s a privilege to become a member of the CCC but also a big responsibility in light of the importance of the issues that it is addressing. I look forward to working with the other members of the committee and bringing my experience in energy systems, specifically electricity systems, and my knowledge of the energy landscape in Scotland to help advise the UK government and devolved administrations on how best to meet our commitment to reducing carbon emissions.”

The CCC faced great scrutiny from the energy sector in February. After recommending that homes no longer be fitted with gas boilers from 2025, GMB, one of the country’s largest unions, urged ministers to ignore the committee. A collection of senior industry figures then accused the CCC of “over-stepping” its remit.

The chancellor of the exchequer announced in his spring statement speech on 13 March that the government will be introducing a Future Homes Standard that will apply to new dwellings from the middle of this decade.

Philip Hammond said: “We will introduce a Future Homes Standard, mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025.”

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