The government has published a new Energy Security Strategy seeking to boost long-term energy independence, security and prosperity by accelerating new nuclear and renewables projects, new leasing rounds for North Sea oil and gas, and increasing ambitions on heat-pump deployments and hydrogen.
Commenting on today's announcement, David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy network companies, said:
“Faced by a number of challenges, the government’s plans to strengthen energy security by boosting clean power and doubling the UK’s hydrogen production targets are welcome.
“Having shown our ability to mobilise over £300m of early investment in energy networks for a green recovery from Covid-19, the UK’s networks are ready to move with the same urgency to deliver these new ambitions and continue to ensure security of supply.
”However, we are concerned that planning reforms under way don’t fully reflect the needs of the network infrastructure necessary to connect new generation and support new demand. If unresolved, this is a significant barrier to achieving the government’s aims.”
Notes to editor
- There are mechanisms built into the RIIO regulatory regime which allow for changes in policy such as this increase in investment, allowing the networks to operate in an agile and responsive manner.
- In building the networks of the future, we are working with the regulator and government to ensure the right infrastructure and resources are in place to make sure the UK remains one of the most resilient energy systems in the world whilst also delivering on our Net Zero commitments.
- Through our Open Networks programme we are working closely with the government to break down the barriers to a smart, more flexible power system.
- Gas networks have already made significant progress towards safely using hydrogen in the gas network, expediting the shift to decarbonised gases with a number of projects underway.
- Energy Networks Association published Britain’s Hydrogen Blending Delivery Plan in January 2022 where we called for domestic 2030 hydrogen production target to double from 5GW to 10GW to ensure that as much hydrogen as possible is produced from sources here in the UK, to better protect homes and businesses from international gas market changes. We are pleased the government has listened.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).