A decarbonised future is as much local as it is national, and the UK’s energy networks are focused on working with local businesses and communities to ensure a lower cost, resilient, zero carbon energy system that leaves nobody behind.
Community energy groups and projects are vital in the transition to a low-carbon, more decentralised energy network and meeting the Government’s ambitious Net Zero target and Energy Networks Association (ENA) is building on its engagement across industry to make sure that stakeholder voices are heard and acted on.
As part of this, ENA’s Community Energy Forum programme provides a dedicated opportunity for community groups to discuss the practicality of industry and communities working together to get the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time to help us on the road to Net Zero.
The first forum of the year was held last week, just ahead of Community Energy Fortnight, on Ofgem’s Final Decision on the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Significant Code Review (SCR). The objective of the Access SCR is to: ensure that electricity networks are used efficiently and flexibly; ensure they reflect users’ needs, allowing consumers to benefit from new technologies and services; and to do this while avoiding unnecessary costs on energy bills.
Hosted by community energy and engagement specialists Regen, almost 30 community energy representatives joined via Zoom from all over the UK to listen to updates from ENA, Electricity North West and UK Power Networks and provide feedback. Areas covered included the below and the presentation slides are available on ENA’s website.
- Introduction to the Access SCR
- Ofgem’s Final Decision: Connection Boundary Reforms and Access Rights Reforms
- Implementation and Timings
- Stakeholder Engagement Plans
In addition to Community Energy Forums, through its flagship Net Zero programmes, ENA works with stakeholders across the sector via a variety of events and webinars on a range of issues – with recent examples ranging from how we modernise the gas networks and making sure that components are hydrogen-ready, to boosting flexibility in electricity networks and a tool that helps distribution network operators see exactly how much flexibility has been delivered by providers.
ENA also introduced a new event series this year aimed at wider industry (including parliamentary representatives), titled ‘Next for Net Zero’. These events showcase the emerging technologies needed to address the decarbonisation of heat, transport and industry and drive the UK to Net Zero. The first event, held online, was on Building an offshore super grid and is available on ENA’s YouTube page, with additional events coming up later in the year – including one on Delivering decarbonised home heating on 5 July and a new podcast series launching later in the year.
If you are a community energy representative and are interested in attending ENA’s next Community Energy Forum, please see below for more information and sign up via ENA’s online form.
Open Networks programme: forward thinking on flexibility – Thursday 8 September at 2pm
Attendees will get the chance to influence the scope of work that ENA will undertake next year, with input feeding directly into its world leading Open Networks programme. The session will focus on flexibility, how community energy organisations can get involved and what the networks should be doing to support them. The forum will also look at the high-level scope of the programme next year and what areas should be prioritised.
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).
Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.