Empowering communities to take energy into their own hands

We all have a part to play in reducing our carbon emissions and tackling climate change

We all have a part to play in reducing our carbon emissions and tackling climate change. This includes consumers and local communities taking more control over how energy is generated and how they use it. National Grid is central to this. 

We are supporting consumers to make a real difference through helping community energy projects find land and connect to the grid; providing funding to make fuel poor households more energy efficient; enabling consumers to better understand the energy they use, and working to enhance our natural environment.

Enabling local renewable energy sources to connect to the grid 

One of the ways carbon reduction can be delivered is through more locally owned, and renewably-generated, energy. From community-owned solar farms to small-scale hydroelectric generation, decentralising energy generation can have a big impact on climate change.

The challenge of connecting smaller and more fragmented energy sources to the grid is that there often isn’t enough capacity within the existing network – often the infrastructure just isn’t there to support new energy sources.  

This is why the National Grid Electricity System Operator is working with distribution companies – the local networks that deliver energy directly to homes and businesses – to increase capacity where it is needed most. This reduces the time it takes to connect new, small-scale, sources to the grid and brings down the cost to consumers. 

Finding land to support carbon reduction

One of the obstacles decentralised energy projects face is finding appropriate and affordable land.

As a landowner that is committed to tackling climate change, we recognise that we can help. This is why we are partnering with battery companies to free up some of our land for battery storage units, to support growth in this technology – a crucial element of the future of sustainable energy use. 

We’re also excited to be part of ‘PowerPaired’, an initiative that matches landowners with community energy projects. We are currently exploring whether the land around our substations could be used for this, helping to create a more dynamic and environmentally friendly energy system, driven by local communities. 

Supporting fuel poor households to become more energy efficient 

For every household across the UK, the amount of energy they use is dependent on the quality of their insulation, and things like the efficiency of their boiler. For households with poor insulation, this adds a considerable amount to their carbon footprint and costs more, with a particular impact on lower income households. 

National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund aims to address this. The fund is giving £150 million to 9,000 fuel poor households to help them reduce their bills, use less energy, and keep warm over the winter months. Ranging from giving people a free boiler or a new central heating system, to new insulation and double glazing, this is making a difference today. 

Helping consumers understand the carbon footprint of the energy they use 

For consumers to be able to reduce their emissions, they need to understand the impact of the energy they use. This is why National Grid Electricity System Operator has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to launch the ‘Carbon Intensity Tool’. This allows people to see how ‘clean’ the energy in their region will be for up to 48 hours in advance. By helping the public understand the carbon intensity of their electricity, we let them take control and use electricity when it’s cleanest – reducing their impact on the environment. 

Enhancing our natural environment 

As well as doing what we can to tackle climate change, working to enhance our natural environment and support ecosystems is also crucial. Our ‘Natural Grid’ programme works with local groups and partners to manage land in a way that improves the local environment and benefits communities. We have created ‘sustainability action plans’ for 30 important sites around England and Wales which including supporting a range of Environmental Education Centres. 

If you’d like to find out more about any of these initiatives, please get in touch with us at [email protected]