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SP Energy Networks welcome government climate change plans

18/12/2020

The long-awaited UK Government Energy White Paper, together with the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget and the Scottish Government’s updated Climate Change Plan 2018-2032, have now been released giving us a clear roadmap to achieving Net Zero and securing a green recovery for the UK.

Our Chief Executive, Frank Mitchell, said: “This week it’s been great to see the scale of ambition for the decarbonisation of the UKs’ energy system crystallised. More digitalisation, flexible and smarter electricity systems and more renewable generation will help support jobs while slashing emissions from the way we heat our homes, to how we power businesses and travel round the country.

“These reports rightly recognise that our electricity networks are the backbone of the energy system which sits at the heart of this Net Zero transition. The plans also highlight the importance of getting the RIIO price control framework, for both our transmission and distribution networks, right allowing us to invest in the necessary network infrastructure which will enable delivery of Governments’ bold ambitions.

“They also reflect the pace of change required to deliver their vision. We’ve already started prioritising actions to tackle the climate emergency and achieve Net Zero – delivering £7 billion of investment into our network from 2015 to 2023. We’ve also focused on developing plans across our transmission and distribution networks to help facilitate the regional ambitions of cities and rural communities we serve.

“We have been actively involved in the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure through two key innovative projects exploring ways Distribution Network Operators can help make the roll out more efficient and bring down costs. Working in partnership with Transport Scotland as part of Project PACE, we are demonstrating a strong framework for the cost effective and timely connection of public EV charging infrastructure to the electricity network, which could be replicated across the UK. Project Charge will, for the first time, merge transport and electricity network planning to create an overarching map of where EV charge points will be required and where they can be best accommodated by the grid. With the Welsh Government currently consulting on its EV Charging Strategy, we will look to share our project learnings with them to help shape this important work.

“We note from the Scottish Government Climate Change Plan the scale of the challenge in decarbonising Scotland’s heating requirements. It’s absolutely right that this is a priority and we stand ready to work with them, to consider the network impacts of delivering their ambitions. We look forward to the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Heat and Buildings strategy as part of our ongoing work supporting the Scottish, Welsh and UK governments in transitioning to a Net Zero future.

“As the only network operator to operate across the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, we know how vital our role is to support the societal changes needed.  We can be pivotal in delivering a just transition for the communities we serve – delivering jobs, economic growth, and environmental benefits. We look forward to that same commitment from partners across the UK.”

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