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Joint record hottest year reiterates need to invest in Net Zero innovation
reports that, despite a drop in contributing factors through worldwide lockdowns and a decrease in aviation and fossil burning due to the pandemic, 2020 was officially the joint hottest year on record. This is one record no-one wants to see and reiterates the urgency to address emissions reductions and the desperate situation we face if we don’t take considerable action.
The news comes as preparations for the COP 26 summit ramp up, alongside the welcome announcement of Alok Sharma’s appointment as COP 26 President, and follows recent significant government launches including the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan – which we responded to with #NetworksTenPointPlan in December – the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget and the Energy White Paper.
The publication of these plans means we now have clear policy pathways for UK decarbonisation, and with the news this week that 2020 was the greenest year for GB’s electricity network, Britain is now better positioned than ever before to tackle the important and ambitious target of achieving Net Zero by 2050. What is certain in an uncertain time is that 2021 will be another year of action and delivery for ENA; the Energy Networks will continue to provide the backbone of decarbonisation and the shift to net zero emissions.
Innovation remains a core focus, and a key part of my new role is ensuring that we maintain and prioritise investment in innovative projects and technologies that will help address climate change aiding in the journey towards Net Zero.
As the Government proceeds with incentivising the decarbonisation of transport, we have been leading work in this area to model different scenarios and their effect on the Energy Networks. This has involved being active participants in the Government-appointed Electric Vehicles Energy Taskforce, which launched its final report in early 2020. In 2021, we will carry on developing processes, tools and procedures in response to RIIO-2 framework to ensure a relevant, coordinated and beneficial innovation portfolio for the Networks and their customers.
In addition to this, we are continuing to collaborate at all stages of the innovation journey and are in the final phase of developing the newly named Energy Networks Innovation Process Document (previously Energy Networks Innovation Coordination and Assessment Protocol). It demonstrates end-to-end steps for reporting, collaboration and dissemination of Ofgem-funded innovation projects and will be published this spring in alignment with RIIO-2. We also published our Energy Network Innovation Strategy last spring, and this strategy is updated every two years.
More broadly, ENA’s Open Networks Project is helping the transition to a smart, flexible system that allows Networks to make the most of local resources rather than building expensive new infrastructure. The 2021 Work Plan consultation launches next week, which gives stakeholders from industry and beyond the opportunity to shape the direction and priorities of the project in 2021.
We’re also creating the world’s first zero-carbon gas grid through our Gas Goes Green programme. This will speed up the switch from natural gas to hydrogen for the 85% of UK households connected to the gas grid, and we will be launching Britain’s Hydrogen Network Plan later this month.
Our Networks have already helped turn the UK into a superpower of renewable energy, but we need to go further and faster to continue to play our part in the UK’s green recovery – and this push must be supported by regulation that allows us to tackle the climate emergency, while doing so at least cost to customers.
Ensuring our energy networks are resilient in bad weather
who's my energy network operator?). Customers can also call 105 if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put themselves, or someone else, in danger. If there's a serious immediate risk, they should call the emergency services too. 105 is a free service, available to people in England, Scotland and Wales. Customers in Northern Ireland should call 03457 643 643.
How do energy networks respond after bad weather?
Engineers, technicians and tree cutters walk the overhead powerlines and check for damage, cut back trees and make vital repairs to get customers back on as quickly and as safely as possible. They are very well practiced – in storms of 2020 nearly one million customers were affected by a power outage caused by bad weather, and virtually everyone had their power restored within 24 hours – and for many, much faster than that.
Do network operators provide help for customers who live in vulnerable circumstances?
Yes. The Priority Services Register is free to join. It helps energy companies look after customers who have extra communication, access or safety needs. It helps companies tailor their services to support households that might need extra help. This would include regular updates about the situation, and in some alternative heating and cooking facilities, alternative accommodation and hot meals in the event of a supply interruption. Those eligible to join the Priority Services Register include customers who are:
Of pensionable age
Disabled, chronically sick, or have a long-term medical condition
Hearing or visually impaired or require additional communication needs
As the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic develops, we are continuing to keep our activities under careful review. We will always take an approach which safeguards the health and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues, while maintaining a safe and reliable supply of energy.
GIS/CW6:2020 Specification for the external protection of steel line pipe and fittings using fusion bonded powder and other coating systems
Gas Industry Standard GIS CW6:2020 The external protection of steel line pipe and fittings using fusion bonded power and other coating systems – requirements and methods of test for coating materials and factory applied coatings