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SPEN Preparing for Net Zero December 2021 Newsletter

Dear Mark

Please find below the December 2021 edition of the SP Energy Networks ICE monthly newsletter highlighting the important work we are doing to Prepare for Net Zero.

EV- Public chargepoint roll-out to become law?

The Government has announced that chargepoints are to be installed at every new home and office in England by 2022.

The aim is for the legislation, the first of its kind in the world, to be expedited through parliament to speed up the roll-out of chargepoints across the country.

Geoff Murphy, Charge Project Lead, commented: “This is good to hear, because at the moment it’s t the discretion of the local authorities, rather than a requirement by law. To really be effective, the legislation needs to mandate the power rating as well. We’ve seen some housing developers installing external 13A wall sockets, which aren’t suitable for EVs. Ideally, we want all new builds to be equipped with 7kW (32A) chargepoints.”

At the same time, the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles issued an open consultation, its Future Of Transport Regulatory Review, which looked at “areas of transport regulation that are outdated, a barrier to innovation or not designed with new technologies and business models in mind.”

Proposals under review included making it a statutory duty for local authorities to plan for and potentially provide EV infrastructure, and requiring chargepoints to be installed in all non-residential car parks.

Heat - We know that we need to redouble our efforts on setting a clear pathway to Net Zero, and we’re ready to do that through our RIIO-ED2 Business Plan

The climate emergency, that was so clearly articulated during COP26, will touch every part of our society. This will lead to massive changes in how we all live our lives, especially as we replace the use of fossil fuels for transport and heat.

When much of the current electricity infrastructure was built, homes used gas or solid fuel for heating with only twenty appliances running on electricity – compared to more than fifty now. Looking to the future, we forecast that up to 1.8 million electric vehicles, 1.1m heat pumps, and up to triple the amount of distributed generation, will be supported by our networks by the end of this decade.

To meet this challenge, we will embark on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in recent history - delivering the network required to support this low carbon future

There’s still a lot of uncertainty on when and how some of these changes will happen. But the direction from our national, devolved, and local governments is clear: Net Zero is not an option. We need to ramp up now to meet future targets. Our job in RIIO-ED2 is to help make these a reality and that’s why we need to invest in our networks, now.

As the only Distribution Network Operator to serve all three devolved regions of GB, we also understand that Net Zero will not evolve at the same pace across every of the country. Because of this, our plans are built around the needs of our communities and their unique Net Zero ambitions.

But we can’t do this alone. Our regulator, Ofgem, must make sure the framework for RIIO-ED2 allows us to match this pace and achieve these targets, and I look forward to discussing how we can support the targets of our communities together.

Innovation- The Halo in Kilmarnock becomes one of the UK’s most Eco-friendly developments thanks to our funding

The state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot HEIC in Kilmarnock is set to open its doors to the public in January 2022. With a vision for a commercial, educational, leisure and lifestyle quarter where people can ‘Live, Work, Learn and Play’, the HALO will provide a sustainable community powered by renewable electricity with a low carbon footprint.

The HEIC was funded as part of our £20 million Green Economy Fund, which supports the UK and Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to meet climate change targets. The fund aims to boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for all.

Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of The HALO, said: “At The HALO Kilmarnock we are leading the way in the development of low carbon energy sites across the UK.

“The funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund has allowed us to invest in the smart energy equipment that we’ve installed here at the HEIC and will support our efforts to harness renewable energy right across the development

The HALO Urban Regeneration Company in Kilmarnock has become one of the most environmentally friendly developments in the UK, thanks to part funding of £415,000 from our Green Economy Fund.

The HALO aims to provide a blueprint for new low carbon energy sites by building one of the first Scottish sustainable communities powered by renewable energy. The HALO has invested almost £1.5million in high-tech, smart energy equipment at The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre (HEIC).

This innovative centre is filled with cutting edge low carbon technology with over 100 rooftop solar panels, a solar carport and 12 fast-charging electric vehicle chargers. It also features 10 zero emissions e-bikes and chargers, two electric cars, an electric bus, and a world-class battery storage facility

Community- Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry to review our storm Arwen rural communities response

We’ve confirmed that former UK Energy Minister Rt Hon Charles Hendry CBE has agreed to lead a review of our operational response to Storm Arwen, with a particular focus on the rural communities worst affected.

Our teams worked to restore power to the 200,000 customers impacted, often in challenging weather conditions, to connect 88% of customers in the first 24 hours following the storm and 96% within 48 hours. However, a significant number of rural customers and communities were without power for more than 2 days and we recognise the impact that this has had upon those customers.

As the independent Chair of the rural communities review, Mr Hendry will consider:

Our response and communications with rural communities during a major storm event, and what improvements can be made;
Our role in working with local authorities and Resilience Fora during a storm response, and how jointly this could be improved; and
looking ahead to Net Zero, how network and electricity resilience in rural areas could be improved, to ensure that the balance of costs and resilience is met appropriately.

Mr Hendry’s review will be supported by an expert panel drawn from local communities, and its findings are expected to be published towards the end of March 2022.

Rt Hon Charles Hendry CBE said: “The scale of the damage caused by Storm Arwen is some of the worst the UK’s power networks have experienced in over 25 years. While it is incredibly rare for homes to be without power for the lengths of time we have seen in the past week, we need to take stock and understand what could be done differently to prepare or respond to an event like this to minimise its effect in future.

“Clearly those in rural communities were affected the worst, and so we’ll be focusing on those areas to ensure their voices are heard along with specific engagement with local authority emergency planning teams, Local Resilience Partnership fora and the Scottish and Welsh Government resilience teams.”

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, added: “We remain incredibly grateful to our customers for their patience as our engineers worked tirelessly to make repairs safely amid some continuing challenging weather conditions, but we also appreciate the worry and uncertainty over the length of time without power has brought to some customers.

“We apologise again to everyone affected by the damage to the power network caused by the storm. The devastation right across the communities we serve from Fife, Lothian & Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Cheshire, North & Mid Wales from north easterly wind speeds of up to 97mph, was far greater than we have seen for at least 25 years.

“I expect the post-storm review of the impact on rural communities, led by the Rt Hon Charles Hendry, to provide independent scrutiny of our service to customers during Storm Arwen, including our operational response, the effectiveness of our communication with customers and the support provided to rural communities.

“It is important that the voices of the rural communities we serve are heard in this review, and that we learn lessons from the experience of Storm Arwen in order to improve our response for the future.”
Following the severe impact on our network caused by Storm Arwen, we have announced additional compensation of £150 per household to those off for more than 48 hours as an apology for the disruption caused. More information is available here.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year.

Kind regards,

Stakeholder & Community Engagement Team

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