News that York and Birmingham are considering a ban on cars within their city limits is no surprise considering the 2018 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions release states the transport sector is the biggest carbon dioxide emitter in the UK.
The report estimates that it accounted for a third (33%) of all carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, polluting more than the energy, business and residential sectors. What makes matters worse is that transport holds such a commanding lead over the energy industry (by 18%) that it might seem like too much of a challenge to decarbonise it. However, the UK energy networks haven’t seen it that way.
The energy networks have known for some time that the transport industry would need to change for the UK to meet its legal 2050 Net Zero target. Such is the case, they have already invested nearly £4,000 since 1990 for every UK household. This investment has funded innovation projects to prepare the energy grid for new forms of fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and biomethane which can be transported and obtained quickly and easily. In addition to this, a further £1,600 is being invested right now under the current RIIO II price control.
This investment has also delivered significant development to ensure that households, businesses and communities will be able to take advantage of new smart technologies. Major projects such as Open Networks are enabling new, local energy markets that will use smart technologies to encourage the uptake of cleaner, greener electric vehicles – for example by using smart electric vehicle chargers. For gas networks, the Gas Decarbonisation Pathways Project is laying the foundations to transport different types of fuel such as hydrogen and biomethane to ensure households and businesses alike have an interrupted supply of alternative energy.
Further to this, new infrastructure is being adding to revolutionise the way we ‘fill up.’ New electric vehicle charging points with smart charging capabilities to balance the grid more efficiently are being installed while multiple hydrogen and biomethane refuel points are being planted up and down the country for HGVs and buses which benefit most from the energy rich gases.
An intended consequence of these advances will reshape the responsibilities of the energy networks. Energy networks have in the past been typically in charge of delivering energy simply for domestic or commercial use, with the fuel for transportation delivered by a different arm of the industry to petrol stations. Now, they are and will increasingly be responsible for delivering that energy, whether it be in the form of electricity or gas.
Transport as we know it today will soon be a thing of the past but it needs to be if we are to fight climate change. Newer, more innovative vehicles will not only produce less carbon dioxide but be more efficient, open up new customer revenue streams and help us lead cleaner, greener lives. And, none of this would be possible without the work of the energy networks.
Their changing remit and relentless drive to revolutionise transport through projects like Open Networks and Gas Pathways, among others will help reduce our transportation carbon footprint, reach our Net Zero target and show the world what positive environmental change really looks like.
A visual representation of this can be viewed here.
For further information, please visit the Securing a Greener Future website at: https://securingagreenfuture.uk/
Notes to Editors
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About Securing a Green Future
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the role energy network companies have to play in tackling the climate emergency by providing the infrastructure needed to decarbonise our economy. Find out more at:
Fast facts about the role Britain’s energy networks are playing to decarbonise our economy:
- A third of Britain’s electricity is now generated from renewable sources that have been connected to energy networks, helping reduce UK carbon emissions to their lowest level since 1888 (BEIS, CCC)
- Britain’s local electricity grids have connected the equivalent of ten Hinkley Point C power plants in the last ten years – over 30GW in total (BEIS)
- Nearly 100 green gas production plants are now connected across the country (ABDA) – green gas could be used to heat up to 15m homes by 2050 (Cadent)
- The UK economy will need to spend between 1-2% of its total wealth each year to reach Net Zero by 2050 (CCC)
- Great Britain could save up to £40bn by 2050 by creating a more innovative, flexible energy system (Imperial College)
- Nearly £4,000 has been invested for every household in GB grid infrastructure in the country since privatisation in 1990 – £100bn in total (Ofgem)
- Another £1,600 is being invested for every household right now, under the current price control (2013-2023) – £45bn in total (Ofgem)
- Private investment helps bring down bills – electricity network costs have fallen by almost a fifth since privatisation whilst £100bn has been invested (Ofgem)
About Energy Networks Association (ENA)
- Energy Networks Association represents the companies that are responsible for operating the ‘wires and pipes’ of Britain’s gas and electricity network infrastructure, serving over 30 million customers across the country