ENA calls for energy networks to be put at the heart of UK Industrial Strategy

Energy Networks Association (ENA) has today set out its vision of how the UK’s gas and electricity networks will play a vital role in delivering the UK’s Industrial Strategy. In its response to the Government’s Green Paper, the Association is calling for the Government to put the UK’s electricity and gas networks at the heart of its plans to develop the UK economy following its exit from the EU.

By 2020, the UK’s energy networks will have attracted some £80 billion of investment since 1990, helping deliver one of the most reliable energy networks in the world and with some of the lowest network costs in Europe.

The response sets out how our networks are also developing in response to innovative new technologies so that they are smarter and more flexible, helping UK businesses to remain internationally competitive.

It states that innovation in smarter networks can deliver new opportunities for economic growth and employment across all regions of the UK, with an estimated potential of £13 billion of Gross Value Added, £5 billion of potential exports to 2050 and 8,000 – 9,000 jobs over the 2020s and 2030s associated with smart grids[1].

Energy Networks Association Chief Executive David Smith said:

“Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. Across the UK, our energy networks are working around the clock to help businesses create jobs and deliver long-term, sustainable economic growth.

“As we increasingly see the deployment of new energy technologies the opportunities for businesses to take advantage of a smarter energy grid will be huge. Our energy networks will be responsible for delivering that technology so it’s vital that their role is at the heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.”

The ENA’s response sets out how energy network companies are currently spearheading the development of a smarter energy network in the UK in an ambitious cross-industry project that will identify what changes need to take place to deliver the kind of energy system that needs be the cornerstone of UK’s Industrial Strategy.

Our networks are already taking advantage of new energy technologies to adapt critical infrastructure and trialling smart technologies, such as energy storage and low carbon gas. These changes will not only facilitate the transition to a smart energy system but also enable the industrial strategy to deliver economic growth in line with the UK’s carbon reduction commitments.

David Smith continues:

“Our response demonstrates the important role that networks play now in delivering secure, low-carbon energy supplies at minimal cost to consumers.

“It also highlights the challenges faced in delivering the networks of the future; how network companies are already working to address these challenges; and how industry and Government can ensure that the benefits of a smart energy system are realised for customers. We look forward to continuing this exciting conversation about the role our energy network will play in delivering a new economic era for the UK.”

[1] DECC, ‘Delivering UK Energy Investment: Networks” (2015)