We’ve been recognised as one of Britain’s most climate change-focused large companies, but what specifically are we doing to help the UK towards its all-important net zero target?
We’re best known for keeping the lights on and the gas flowing, but what you might not be aware of is that we’re also leading the charge to tackle climate change. Our efforts have been recognised as we’re one of only 11 UK companies awarded A-list status in CDP’s latest ratings, announced this week, which assess organisations on how well they’re addressing climate change.
In our reporting year to March 2019, we’d already reduced our carbon emissions by 68%, but we know there’s still more to be done and we’re working hard to make it happen.
Here we explain some of the many initiatives and changes we’re making to combat climate change. Some are big, some small, some internal, some in partnership with others – but all are making a difference and helping to create a greener, cleaner energy system.
1. Accessing more renewable energy than ever. The days of most of Britain’s energy coming from coal-fired power stations are over. One of the ways we’ve been making this happen is via our network of interconnectors. These undersea cables allow us to exchange electricity with neighbouring countries, so we can draw on more clean energy from solar or wind turbines. If it’s been especially windy or sunny here, we can also sell our surplus electricity back to our neighbours. By 2030, these interconnectors will provide enough electricity for eight million homes to use 90% zero carbon energy. Our Carbon Dashboard allows you to see exactly how much of a difference our interconnectors are making to reduce carbon in real time.
2. Championing ultra-fast electric vehicle charging points. Our proposal for a network of ultra-fast chargers at UK motorway service stations would cut charge time to as little as 5 to 10 minutes – so, by the time you’ve grabbed a coffee and scrolled through a few messages you‘ll be back on the road.
3. Looking at how we can green up gas. Gas fuels over 80% of UK home heating and more than half of industrial energy needs. As part of the Future Gas Forum, with our industry partners, we’re discussing ways to make keeping our homes warm more environmentally friendly. One of the key proposals here is a switch to hydrogen, which is cleaner than the methane predominantly used at present.
4. Aiming to set up a zero-carbon zone. In partnership with Equinor and Drax, we’re exploring the potential for a net-zero industrial cluster in the Humber region. This ground-breaking project could protect as many as 55,000 jobs, while the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) technology involved would capture 15% of the UK’s current annual carbon emissions – good for the environment and good for the economy too.
5. Using robots to reduce gas leakage. We’ve been sending robots down high-pressure gas pipelines to carry out checks and repairs. This not only reduces maintenance costs, it also generates savings of more than 2,000 tonnes of carbon annually – equivalent to the emissions from 500 households.
6. Cutting our buildings’ carbon footprints. We’re looking at lower carbon construction methods and have set a target of increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings by 10%.
7. National Grid ESO connecting the world’s largest offshore wind farm. When operational, Hornsea Project One, at Killingholme in North Lincolnshire, will include 174 turbines, cover 407 square kilometres and provide 1.2 gigawatts of green energy. That’s enough to provide sustainably-sourced electricity for more than a million homes.
8. Investing in low carbon innovation. National Grid Partners, has backed a range of companies that are facilitating a lower carbon future. For example, AutoGrid is developing sophisticated technology to bring more renewable energy into the system and Carbon Lighthouse is helping building owners to cut energy waste and fight climate change.