ENA’s Head of Open Networks, Farina Farrier, discusses opportunities to get involved with the energy networks.
It’s fantastic to see such a wide range of industry representatives planning to take part in Community Energy Fortnight this year. From Twitter takeovers to virtual events and picnics, all will shine a spotlight on the variety of projects and achievements from the past year, highlighting once more that the future of energy is as local as it is national.
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. For ENA and our members, community energy organisations act as trusted intermediaries in our energy system and ensure people are engaged in the transition. This allows us to work together in a more meaningful way.
It’s been a challenging 14 months, but 2021 has already been a year of action and delivery as we focus on economic recovery in the greenest possible way. Some recent highlights have been:
- Our Green Recovery announcement, in conjunction with Ofgem, which unlocks £300m of investment
- The “Tomorrow’s Heat, Today’s Opportunity” campaign launch, as part of our Gas Goes Green work
- A 41% increase in the volume of flexibility being tendered so far this year, with the anticipated delivery of around 3GW of flexibility being tendered by end of 2021.
We are continuing to build a grid that leaves nobody behind - community energy groups, projects and people are a key part of this transition, and I’d encourage you to get involved if you can.
How to get involved
We are proud to have an extensive community engagement programme that informs every step of our work. We have a series of upcoming events that we would love to get community energy groups engaged with.
Community Energy Forums
Last year ENA formally committed to hosting regular community roundtable events, as led by the Open Networks project.
The forums offer an opportunity for community groups to bring thoughts, views and highlight potential barriers straight to the networks at an important time as they build the nation’s smart grid. This is a critical platform for distribution network operators to receive feedback, and for communities to be able to build their knowledge and capacity.
It’s been brilliant to work with Community Energy England, Community Energy Scotland and Community Energy Wales on these so far and we appreciate their continued support as part of our ongoing engagement with community groups.
Our next virtual event is on Thursday 22 July 2-4pm and we would encourage community groups to really take advantage of these forums to help build an energy system that works for all.
Beginning in late July and running for eight weeks, our Flexibility Consultation seeks views and thoughts from across the entire industry on the work we are doing with local flexibility markets. More information will be emailed around ahead of the launch but getting a strong response from community groups is vital to our future work on flexibility.
Energy Networks Innovation Conference
The Energy Networks Innovation Conference (ENIC), run by ENA, is taking place as a free virtual event between 12-15 October. For the first time this year we will have a panel session dedicated to highlighting Community energy groups and projects achievements across 2021.
Notes to editors
This blog was written for Community Energy Fortnight, and originally featured on Community Energy England's website.
See the details of some of our upcoming events below and use the links to register.
If you are interested in attending our Flexibility Consultation Webinar event hosted by Business Green in early September please email [email protected] and we will share more information shortly.
Subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with the latest news, events, and updates from the Open Networks project.
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.