Man with headphones reflected on the side of National Grid helicopter - used for the National Grid story '8 things you (probably) didn’t know about National Grid'

8 things you (probably) didn’t know about National Grid

From finding buried treasure to being put on the A-list for our engagement with tackling climate change, here we share some fascinating facts about National Grid; and how we’re leading the charge to make the energy network cleaner, greener and more reliable.

1. We’re transatlantic

National Grid is pivotal to the energy systems of both the UK and the North-Eastern US.

In the UK, we own and operate no fewer than 4,481 miles of overhead electricity lines, 1,417 miles of underground electricity cables and 4,760 miles of high-pressure gas pipes. Add that together and, at over 10,000 miles, that’s pretty much the distance from London to Sydney. Our UK business involves taking high-pressure gas and electricity from the producers to the operators, who then deliver it to homes and businesses.

Our US network, meanwhile, is even more widespread, with 8,881 miles of overhead power lines and a staggering 35,560 miles of gas pipelines – that’s over 1.4 times the length of the equator. In the US, we deliver gas and electricity to over 20 million people.

2. We’ve found buried treasure

As we go about improving energy infrastructure, we often, quite literally, dig deep and sometimes this leads to fascinating discoveries. We’ve unearthed 6th Century human skeletons in Dorset, a Neolithic roadway from around 2300 B.C. in East Anglia and Roman remains in Hertfordshire. Meanwhile, under the sea off Somerset, we chanced upon a rare and complete Fairey Barracuda World War Two bomber during our survey of the seabed for an undersea cable between the UK and France.

3. We’re on the A-list for companies engaged with climate change

We are one of only 11 UK companies included on the ‘CDP A-list 2019’, released in January 2020. This highlights organisations that are beacons of environmental performance for climate change.

4. We’ve been fighting fuel poverty

Our £150million Warm Homes Fund has been addressing fuel poverty in the UK, providing grants to vulnerable ‘fuel poor’ households to make them warmer and more energy efficient. The fund provides grants for new gas connections, new heating systems and insulation.

5. We’re working to fuel the switch to electric vehicles

Many consumers who’d like to swap to an electric vehicle are held back by worries that they won’t be able to get where they want to go without running out of power. Our planned national electric vehicle charging network would help tackle this by allowing 99 per cent of drivers to be within 50 miles, in any direction, of an ultra-rapid charging hub. These hubs can charge a vehicle in a super-speedy time of under ten minutes – just long enough to grab and enjoy a nice cup of coffee before you hit the road again.

6. We’re hoping to create the world’s first zero carbon industrial zone

We’re working with our partners toward establishing a carbon-free industrial area in the Humber region, with the potential to help both the environment and the local economy.

7. We’re building under the sea to share more green energy

Our network of interconnectors – undersea cables – lets us exchange electricity with neighbouring countries, so we can get access to more clean power when we need it and sell any surplus we have when supply outstrips demand. By collaborating with other countries, we’re not only making our energy system greener but more reliable and affordable too.

8. We’re reducing the visual impact of our existing infrastructure on the most protected landscapes in England and Wales

In the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we’re currently working to lay stretches of underground cabling to replace overhead pylons; restoring this precious landscape of downland, ridges and vales. We’re also developing further projects to remove pylons from parts of the Peak District and Snowdonia National Parks.