SP ENERGY NETWORKS SUPPORT UK GOVERNMENT HEAT AND BUILDINGS AND NET ZERO STRATEGIES

22/10/2021

We welcome and are ready to support the UK Government’s newly published Heat and Buildings and Net Zero strategies, outlining how the decarbonisation of the UK economy will be key to tackling the climate emergency.

The strategies include ambitious plans to invest over £3.9billion from 2022 to 2025 on initiatives and work programmes that will specifically support the delivery of the decarbonisation of heat, and over £40billion on wider activities to help us reach the UK’s ambitious Net Zero by 2050 target by decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy.

They set out specific policies and proposals for driving energy efficiency in homes, preparing the network for the increased demand in low carbon technologies, delivering actions that will maximise system flexibility, reforming system governance so the whole system can achieve decarbonisation ambitions, and crucially, ensuring customers pay a fair, affordable price for their energy and can engage with a market that offers choices supportive of Net Zero.

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Our CEO, Frank Mitchell, said: “As an operator of critical national infrastructure at the heart of delivering the decarbonisation targets for the UK, we welcome this strategic vision from government to drive forward the energy transition and are pleased to see it reflects the scale of the challenge ahead.  

Energy efficiency in homes and buildings has rightly been identified as critical to achieving Net Zero and more specifically, enabling the wide-scale deployment of electric heating systems. We are encouraged by the Government’s pledge to ensure a high level of energy performance across all buildings, with building standards and house builders obliged to minimise the loss of heat from buildings in the UK and to install systems that are low carbon.

We already know that the scale and pace of electric heat pump installation needed to deliver Net Zero will lead to a huge increase in demand for energy, with the anticipation that up to 3.1 million heat pumps will be connected to the network by 2050. And in order to support the decarbonisation of other sectors like transport, we know there is a lot of work to do on the supporting infrastructure – for example, increasing the current 35,000 public charging points in the UK to 400,000. That’s why we have been investing significantly in our network over the RIIO-ED1 period, delivering innovative solutions like our Heat-Up and EV-Up forecasting tools, and supporting the roll-out of public charging infrastructure via our Charge and PACE projects. We’re also driving forward the development of the emerging flexibility market, running regular tenders and trialling new approaches like reactive power usage, and GB’s first Universal Smart Energy Framework compliant flex market via our flagship FUSION project.

However, it’s the continued investment in RIIO-ED2 that will be vital to ensuring we stay on track and maintain the stability of our electricity network for our customers and communities.

We are pleased to see that both strategies recognise that network operators form the backbone of the energy infrastructure that will facilitate the move to Net Zero, and are encouraged by the Government’s pledge to support us in doing so.

We’re focused on delivery of the areas we know will make an impact, which we have already identified in our future energy scenarios, via our extensive stakeholder engagement, and throughout the development of our business plans.

We recognise that a one size solution won’t fit all, and that instead, a balanced whole system approach is needed in order to provide choices for customers. Our job is to prepare the infrastructure needed to support the changing impact on the network, and we look forward to playing a key role as a network operator in evolving the way we heat our homes and buildings, utilise transport, and manage and maintain the energy system in the UK, whilst ensuring no one is left behind in that journey.”

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