Company publishes proposals for major new investments that support the region’s drive towards a zero-carbon future and create 1,000 job opportunities in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
Northern Powergrid has announced proposals to invest £3.2 billion that will support the region’s drive towards a net zero future, create 1,000 new job opportunities, improve services and take action to support an inclusive and greener energy future.
The draft plan for 2023-28, which has been submitted to Ofgem as part the price control review process that will culminate in late 2022, sets out the company’s ambitions to deliver an electricity network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire that embraces and enables regional decarbonisation.
It signals decisive action plans that see investment increase by 36% to over £600m per year to ensure the region’s power network can support the expected growth in electricity demand that will come from the anticipated electrification of heat and transport.
The plan details how the network operator will strengthen its role as a regional leader of decarbonisation and invest in decarbonisation technologies, systems, and strategies, to offer its customers enhanced services across its entire business.
As part of the proposals Northern Powergrid outlines its plans to tailor its services to vulnerable customers to support a socially inclusive transition to net zero so no one is left behind, and boost its workforce through new jobs. The network operator sets out its commitment to continuing to power a green economic recovery by creating opportunities for new and future team members, and harnessing the talent of a diverse team that reflects the make-up of the communities it serves.
The company’s focus on keeping bills fair for customers means that the impact on domestic customers’ energy bills is less than 10p per week, despite the significant increase in investment.
Phil Jones, Northern Powergrid’s Chief Executive, said: “We are setting out our intentions as one of the leading investors in the region’s transition to net zero. We see it as a fantastic opportunity and a significant responsibility. Our network will be instrumental in the shift to low carbon energy and we are responding to the calls from our stakeholders to invest in the network technologies that will make it all possible.”
“This is not more of the same – we’re going to create the low carbon network of the future at the same time as improving service levels across the board. That means significant change in the way we do business. We need to learn new skills, create new job opportunities in the region and make the most of innovation, particularly in the area of data and digital technology.”
Phil concluded: “It’s hard to think of a better example of building back better. Over £3bn of investment in the region that delivers real action on climate change and more skilled jobs – on top of improved services in every area of our business. Our proposals help set the region firmly on the pathway to strong, decarbonised regional growth – delivering prosperity and leading the way to net zero.”
The 36% increase in investment is almost entirely driven by the investment to create a smarter, more flexible energy system that maintains high levels of security and reliability. Efficiencies factored into the plans mean that the ambitious outcomes are delivered without significantly impacting the annual network-related charges which customers pay as part of their bill to their chosen energy supplier. It means from 2023 onwards, domestic customers’ bills on average will increase by about 5% to around £94.40 a year, representing outstanding value for the commitments and investments Northern Powergrid is proposing to deliver for the regions and communities it serves.
Patrick Erwin, Northern Powergrid’s Policy and Markets Director, said: “The pathway to decarbonisation is still uncertain, as emerging technologies such as green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and grid-scale energy storage compete for funding and mainstream uptake. We are proposing a draft plan that will help manage this uncertainty by operating a flexibility-first approach; strengthening the capability of our network and operating a smart, flexible system that can adapt to every potential decarbonisation pathway for our customers.”
Northern Powergrid’s draft 2023-28 business plan is a product of extensive engagement. It has been shaped following some 300+ events, 55 panels and 52,000 interactions with stakeholders, from school-age pupils and customers to local authority partners and industry veterans.
Patrick continued: “We engaged widely on this draft plan and we believe it delivers on what our customers have said is important to them. As we’ve built this draft plan, feedback to date indicates support for our approach and ambitions for the region – with approval ratings of almost 90%. Now we’ll focus on seeking more feedback so we can deliver in December to our regulator a final 2023-28 business plan that is born out of robust engagement and collaboration with our stakeholders.”
Customers and other key stakeholders wishing to view and share feedback on the plan can access a dedicated website created by Northern Powergrid. From September onwards the company will also deliver another wide-reaching engagement campaign to ensure people across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire can say if they agree with and accept Northern Powergrid’s final proposals to improve the electricity distribution network that powers their life.