ENA welcomes £55bn decarbonisation opportunity highlighted by NIC

Date: 22.05.18

Release: Immediate

Energy Networks Association (ENA) has today welcomed new research published by National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) showing that a joined-up approach to the decarbonisation of our energy infrastructure could save £55bn by 2050, as much as £2,000 for each household in Great Britain.

NIC recently commissioned independent research by Element Energy & E4tech to investigate the cost of decarbonising the UK’s heat infrastructure, including space-heating and hot water. The final report, circulated to stakeholders for the first time this week, finds that an integrated approach to decarbonising our energy infrastructure could deliver significant savings. The report comes as the Government continues to develop decarbonisation policies for heat and transport necessary for the UK to meet its legally binding carbon emissions targets under the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets.

ENA believes that a “Whole-System Approach”, based on our energy networks using new smart technologies to work more closely together in an integrated way, can build on the strength of our existing energy network assets to deliver decarbonisation at lowest cost. ENA has called for the Government to investigate what role that Approach could have as part of the Clean Growth Strategy.

David Smith, CEO of ENA, says:

“Britain’s energy network operators are committed to creating an efficient, smarter, cleaner energy system fit for our homes and businesses. Decarbonising heat is one of the greatest challenges facing our energy system, and ENA welcomes the independent National Infrastructure Commission’s contribution to the evidence base on future options. Our power, heat, transport and waste sectors are all interdependent, and so must be the solutions for their decarbonisation.

“The NIC figures suggest that a Whole-System Approach to decarbonisation, which involves planning how to use our energy network infrastructure in a more integrated way by using low carbon gasses like hydrogen, could save £55bn to 2050 compared to an electricity only solution.”

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Notes to editors

  • Energy Networks Association (ENA) represents the companies that operate and maintain the gas and electricity grid network in the UK and Ireland. Serving over 30 million customers, they are responsible for the transmission and distribution network of “wires and pipes” that keep our lights on, our homes warm and our businesses running.
  • The £55bn by 2050 figure is calculated from the difference between the mid points of the “large scale options” set out in an infographic provided by NIC: https://www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Costs-of-Low-Carbon-Heating-May-2018.pdf
  • The £2000 by 2050 is calculated by dividing £55bn between Britain’s 27 million households, equalling £2037 each.
  • The report can be found online at https://www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Element-Energy-and-E4techCost-analysis-of-future-heat-infrastructure-Final.pdf
  • A Whole-System Approach is based on our energy networks using new smart technologies to work together in an integrated way, building on the strength of our existing gas and electricity network assets:
    • Its means looking at optimal network investment and operational decisions for the whole energy network, not just the individual parts in isolation.
    • It also means considering interactions across energy vectors (e.g. heat networks, energy storage or transportation) so that wider options and value can be taken into account.
    • This work is supported by consideration of the connections, data links, interfaces, coordinated planning opportunities, potential impacts and shared learnings across electricity and gas network and other energy vectors, both currently and in the future.
  • ENA’s response to the Clean Growth Strategy can be found online here at http://www.energynetworks.org/assets/files/FINAL%2020171221%20Clean%20Growth%20Strategy%20v6.pdf
  • Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets cover the periods of 2023 to 2027 and 2028 to 2032 respectively.