The energy network, which keeps the lights on for more than 18 million people across London, the East and South East of England, is investing up to £80m to supercharge projects that contribute towards the UK’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050.
The programme follows the Government’s announcement in November 2020 of a Ten Point Plan to kickstart the ‘Green Recovery’ and enable the country to reach its target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Now the network company is inviting bids from shovel-ready low carbon energy projects that require a high or low voltage electricity connection to its networks in the next two years.
The programme will support successful bidders who can demonstrate their project helps enable the low carbon transition. This could include installing rapid electric vehicle charging stations in local communities, energy generators looking to connect more renewable energy to the electricity network, local heat networks or community energy projects.
To be successful, projects will need to demonstrate how they meet both the Government’s Net Zero objective and the Ten Point Plan. They will also be assessed to understand their contribution towards improving air quality, creating jobs and alleviating fuel poverty. The programme will focus on funded projects that can be delivered in 2021 or 2022 to make sure it has immediate impact.
The programme will enable UK Power Networks to increase power capacity in areas identified, to significantly reduce the cost of connection. Successful applicants will still need to apply for an electricity connection in order to use this increased capacity.
To support this work, UK Power Networks is also exploring a range of innovative solutions, including a new compact substation design, to enable new connections to be delivered more quickly and at a lower cost. It hopes this new solution can be delivered by any authorised body.
Sul Alli, director of Strategy and Customer Service at UK Power Networks says: “Electricity networks are the front line of enabling Net Zero. That’s why we’ve taken this decision to make a significant investment to kickstart the Green Recovery and help get projects that are going to make a real, tangible difference to people’s lives off the drawing board and into development.
“The clock is ticking – in less than a decade there will be 36 times as many electric vehicles connected to our network as there is now, and that’s why we have to take action now. Electricity networks have a vital public role to play in enabling the Net Zero revolution, and it’s a role we are 100% committed to.”