Electricity distributors UK Power Networks and Northern Powergrid have outlined business plans supported by £4.5bn and £3.2bn of spending respectively, both with motivation to help install and develop low-carbon generation and technologies.
UK Power Networks, which supplies electricity across London, the South-East and East of England, stated that it has developed its new draft business plan for 2023-2028 with its own forecasts on electric transport and heating in mind, in which these forecasts have been based on the advice of the Climate Change Committee (CCC).
The firm have forecasted that up to 2.7 million electric vehicles (EVs) will be charging on its networks by 2028. Within the same timeframe, it expects an additional 700,000 domestic heat pumps to be installed across the UK, which both of these trends will increase electricity demand.
UK Power Networks said in a statement that they are “highly confident” that the forecasts predicted will be achieved, ensuring that the full £4.5bn package is used to the highest extent. However, if the pace of decarbonisation in the energy and transport sectors were to be faster than expected, up to £1.1bn of potential additional investment could be leveraged.
Priority investment areas include increasing the number of public, on-street EV chargers by 2028 and establishing a dedicated ‘net-zero’ transition team with the UK Power Networks setting their own net-zero goal for operations by 2028. The role of the team will be co-operating with local authorities to develop local area energy plans to support the delivery of their target, while trying to maximise the social and economic benefits.
The UK Power Networks business plan will be considered by regulator Ofgem in December and is subject to its final approval. The proposals have been shaped on an existing £80m green recovery fund, which is supporting initiatives including EV charging points, local heat networks and community renewable energy generation projects.
A draft business plan for 2023-2028 was create recently by Northern Powergrid, which serves more than 8 million customers across North-East England, Yorkshire, and Northern Lincolnshire.
As with UK Power Networks, their plan emphases heavily on the need for flexibility in a low-carbon energy system, to deal with increased electricity demand through the uptake of EVs, electric heating and the advancement of renewable generation. It has been said that £600m per annum has been earmarked for decarbonisation activities, which is a 36% increase in annual funding during the current business plan.
Aside from renewable electricity generation and EV charging infrastructure, the plan sets aside multi-million-pound pots for green hydrogen, grid-scale battery energy storage and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Ofgem will now analyse the draft business plan by the end of the year. Northern Powergrid said in a statement that the plans had an approval rating higher than 90% across 52,000 stakeholder interactions, 300 events and 55 panels that informed its development.
Northern Powergrid’s chief executive Phil Jones said: “We are setting out our intentions as one of the leading investors in the region’s transition to net-zero; we see it as a fantastic opportunity and a significant responsibility. Our network will be instrumental in the shift to low-carbon energy, and we are responding to the calls from our stakeholders to invest in the network technologies that will make it all possible.”
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