Northern Powergrid unveils community engagement decarbonisation plans
The distribution network operator (DNO) for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire has unveiled a new community energy engagement strategy outlining steps to use community-based consumption and power to respond to the climate emergency.
Northern Powergrid’s Community Energy Engagement Strategy, aims to spur the growth of community energy systems across the region. It has been built following months of engagement with community energy stakeholders and outlines 26 engagement actions to ensure projects are issued collaboratively with local stakeholders.
Alongside addressing the climate emergency by prioritising low-carbon sources, the strategy will also focus on combatting fuel poverty.
Northern Powergrid’s sustainability manager and community energy contact Anda Baumerte said: “Our role is about more than keeping the lights on – we are a key enabler for regional decarbonisation. It is integral that we work collectively with the communities we support in order to address the climate emergency. This strategy demonstrates our commitment to go above and beyond to deliver on our common goals.”
Community-owned energy projects generated 168MW of electricity in 2018, of which 21 organisations operate within Northern Powergrid’s region. Solar technology, in particular, is enjoying the perks of community ownership.
Northern Powergrid intends to test community ideas over the next three years as it prepares its business plan for 2023-2028, as requested for the RIIO-ED2 price control period.
Last year, Northern Powergrid opened an online auction aimed at procuring 100MW of flexible energy capacity, largely from businesses. Under the e-auction scheme, called ‘Restore Flexibility’, businesses which consume large amounts of energy, generate their own power or operate energy storage arrays will be encouraged to sell their flexibility services for a set price per MWh.
In 2018, Northern Powergrid became one of six utility firms to commit to set new requirements for all new network infrastructure to include “smart” flexibility services, as more renewable arrays come online nationwide.
Along with Electricity North West, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution, Northern Powergrid vowed to ensure that the installation of services such as on-site generation, demand-side response and energy efficiency measures will become a pre-requisite for project investment by 2020.