National Grid calls for urgent reform to drive UK energy transition

National Grid

National Grid has detailed how industry, government and regulators can take action to enable decarbonisation of the UK power sector.

The recommendations set out in ‘Delivering for 2035: Upgrading the grid for a secure, clean and affordable energy future’ are critical to realise the scale and pace of the transformation needed over the next decade.

Significant progress has already been made towards transforming the UK’s power system, with a huge expansion in clean energy in recent years, as well as substantial investment in our electricity networks. But fully decarbonising the power sector by 2035 will require more urgent action from industry, government, and the regulator.

If the UK can get this right, the prize is significant. Addressing these priorities will collectively deliver greater energy security and lower long-term bills. Investment in Great Britain’s energy networks could also contribute an average of £18.4bn annually to GDP and support over 220,000 jobs each year to 2035.

National Grid’s five priority actions set out in the report are:  Reform the planning system centred around a strategic clean energy vision. As an immediate step, finalise the National Policy Statements by the summer, ensuring they provide clarity and certainty to support urgent delivery of net zero infrastructure.

Ensure the regulatory and governance framework is set up for delivery. Review the current suite of regulators’ objectives and duties and clarify roles and responsibilities across the institutions accountable for the energy transition;

Transform how clean energy connects to the grid, accelerating Net Zero projects. Shift from a ‘first come, first served’ to ‘connect or move’ connections process.  Develop strategic ‘capacity hubs’, enabling a more coordinated and innovative approach to connections.  Create a fast-track connection route for critical net zero projects, prioritising those areas where the economic value could be greatest;

Put communities and consumers at the forefront of the transition. Deliver a consistent community benefits framework that ensures local people secure real value for hosting critical net zero infrastructure;

Develop supply chain capacity and a skills pipeline across the country. Deliver a targeted package of incentives to attract potential clean energy manufacturers and training providers to locate and expand sites in the UK. 

“The UK has made significant progress in decarbonisation over the last decade,” John Pettigrew, National Grid PLC CEO, said. “But today, we all stand at a critical juncture. The scale of the transformation needed over the next decade and beyond is a level not seen for generations with a far greater level of investment needed over a much shorter timeframe.  Incremental change will not be sufficient – we need a transformative approach.

“We believe the five priority actions we have set out today can drive our energy transformation, bringing with it a huge boost to the economy, more jobs, lower household bills and greater energy security.

“National Grid is already playing its part in investing in clean energy infrastructure and transforming the UK’s energy system to make sure it is fit for the future, investing more than £16bn in the five years to April 2026 to upgrade our networks and support the UK’s net zero ambition.”

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