Western Power Distribution targets net emissions 22 years ahead of national plan

UK utility Western Power Distribution has announced a £6.7 billion ($8.8 billion) plan that will enable the energy firm to achieve net emissions 22 years ahead of the national target.

The utility’s 2023-2028 plan will prepare the grid for increased integration of distributed energy resources (DERs) and low carbon technologies without stressing it.

The projects to be deployed will enable the grid to withstand the 1.5 million additional electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps to be connected to the network by 2028.

Western Power Distribution says the plan will enable the provision of same-day DERs connections services and that the business is ready for rapidly changing customer expectations.

In addition, the strategy aims to make sure the energy transition is just and inclusive and address energy affordability and poverty issues.

Some 600,000 customers will be offered a smart energy plan per year to help them access low carbon solutions whilst some 113,000 customers will be assisted out of energy poverty. These initiatives will help deliver more than £60 million ($79.5 million) in energy savings for consumers.

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The strategy, submitted with regulator Ofgem and awaiting approval, will enable the utility to improve customer satisfaction to 93%, reduce the occurrences of outages, enhance grid efficiencies and allow the utility to leverage innovation and digitalisation in preparation for next-generation business cases.

Phil Swift, WPD’s Chief Executive, said: “The future of energy has never been more exciting. WPD is leading an energy revolution: delivering a smart, digitalised electricity grid by 2028 while keeping customer bills broadly flat. The reason we exist as a company is to serve the 8 million homes and businesses in our region. Our customers can have full confidence that we’re ready to deliver on our ambitious and innovative proposals. By doing so we’ll ensure that our regions are at the forefront of the nation’s shift to net zero and a low carbon future.”

“Since 2015 we have already begun to transform our network, ready to connect more than 31GW of distributed generation on a network conventionally designed for 14GW of demand. But that is just the start. Our Business Plan presents an opportunity to deliver unprecedented digitalisation and innovation to deliver an electricity network to meet the rapidly changing needs of our customers in a net-zero carbon future. Crucially, we are leading by example – having reviewed our own business carbon footprint, we are committing to become a net-zero business by 2028 – twenty-two years ahead of the government’s schedule.”

The strategy will enable Western Power Distribution to achieve some 42 core commitments including sustainability, connectability and addressing energy vulnerability

Swift concluded: “We’re confident that our far-reaching yet affordable commitments will enable us to meet the challenges of a fast-changing energy future. It will power ambitious improvements and will place our customers at the heart of the move towards a low carbon future.”

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