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The Sixth Carbon Budget Report: Supporting the UK’s pathway to Net Zero

11/12/2020

Earlier this week the Climate Change Committee (CCC) released their Sixth Carbon Budget Report - required under the Climate Change Act and providing ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033 - 2037.

In effect, this report brings forward the UK’s previous 80% reduction target by nearly 15 years – a world-leading commitment, that places the UK decisively on the path to Net Zero by 2050 at the latest and on a trajectory that’s consistent with the Paris Agreement.

We welcome the report that shines a light on the scale and pace of change that’s required to meet these ambitious goals.

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Frank MitchellCommenting on the report our CEO, Frank Mitchell said:

“We wholeheartedly welcome the CCC’s report and we’re already working to help facilitate this cleaner, greener future for everyone in the UK. The report reinforces that decarbonisation relies heavily on investment and development of our electricity infrastructure and that this future simply can’t happen without the electricity network operators. 

"There are significant challenges the report highlights that shouldn’t be underestimated:

  • This is a critical time for the UK’s Net Zero transition and green recovery. It’s vital that businesses, regulators and governments work together at pace, with a shared strategic commitment to delivering ambitious and timely progress towards cost-effective decarbonisation of the UK economy. If we get this right, I have no doubt we will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

  • We know that electricity networks are critical to ensuring the delivery of renewables, hydrogen, electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps and believe government should play to its strengths by investing in the country’s core energy infrastructure. We already connect huge volumes of renewable generation to our network and have 30% of all GB’s renewables connected to our system (against 14% of GB demand).
  • The acceleration of a smart, green energy network will lead to unprecedented change for network operators. We can support these goals, but we need to start this journey now. Ofgem must realise the capability of the private sector to deliver the radical changes needed to network infrastructure.
  • We welcome the CCC’s suggestion that additional immediate funding in network infrastructure should now be considered against the lower operating costs of a low carbon society in future. This would allow us to take a longer-term view by bringing forward and coordinating investment where it delivers the greatest benefits to customers. This is incredibly important for our customers and will lead to lower network costs, fewer delays waiting for connections to the network, a more resilient and safer electricity supply.
  • The move to a decarbonised future must be fair for all. We’re pleased that the CCC recognises that to support fair and balanced access to future solutions, wider changes on issues such as tax, infrastructure and planning must be looked at. It’s important that no customer is left behind in this journey and we must have a relentless focus on the most vulnerable in our society.”

Also speaking after the report was released, our Network Planning & Regulation Director, Scott Mathieson said: 

“Put simply, this report highlights that doing nothing, or spending time debating the right approach to a Net Zero future isn’t an option. We must act now. We’ve already started prioritising actions to tackle the climate emergency and deliver Net Zero – delivering £7 billion of investment into our network from 2015 to 2023 to prepare for the future.

"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. The job Isn’t done. In fact, it’s picking up pace...

"We’ve already identified that our network will need to support:

  • An electrified transport infrastructure – with up to 1.5 million new electric vehicles in the next 10 years, rising to 3.4 million by 2050.
  • The decarbonisation of building heating – with up to 700,000 new heat pumps installed in the next 10 years, rising to up to 2.6 million by 2050.
  • The building and connection of even more renewable generation – with predications that customer generation could triple in the next 10 years.

“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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