The UK must introduce a clear mechanism to support anticipatory investment in order to help electricity networks prepare for net zero.
That’s the suggestion from network operator SSEN, which has published a new report outlining a number of policy recommendations to ensure the UK’s network infrastructure is prepared for net zero.
Distribution Network Operators (DNO) are shifting to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) role to move towards a low carbon energy system based around smarter, more flexible electricity networks – SSEN notes electricity networks have been instrumental in connecting renewables to the grid and decarbonising the UK’s power generation but emphasises significant and extensive electrification of the UK’s transport and heating sectors is now required.
It highlights as the UK moves to a smarter electricity network, customer expectation and the demand on the network will change and suggests using data can support efficient investment decisions and the cost-effective transition to net zero.
SSEN calls for the introduction of requirements for new homes to be ‘EV ready’ with appropriate charging infrastructure, for more transparency regarding EV usage and low carbon technology uptake and for the installation of smart EV charging to be mandated.
It also notes the importance of encouraging households to adopt flexibility by providing a financial incentive above market value and says a whole-systems approach must be adopted, with communities taking a leading role in decarbonisation.
Andrew Roper, Director of DSO at SSEN, said: “Climate change is, rightly, now a first-order issue and the adoption of net zero targets in the UK and Scotland, while ambitious, are absolutely necessary and absolutely achievable.
“We believe the seven policy recommendations we have identified will not only help us on our transition but also create a foundation for delivery of net zero within the electricity system.”