Meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero target will require collaboration across business, Government and consumers. National Grid is pleased to be supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Net Zero; a cross-party grouping of MPs interested in the UK’s Net Zero transition. Rhian Kelly, Head of Public Affairs and Policy, shares her thoughts.
National Grid occupies a unique position at the heart of the UK’s energy system. The electricity and gas transmission network that we own – the ‘motorways’ of the energy system – play an essential role in transporting energy safely and securely to where it’s needed. That’s why we have a vital role to play in supporting the UK’s transition to net zero, through investment, innovation and, crucially, collaboration.
Last year was a pivotal time as it saw Parliament making the UK’s net zero commitment legally binding. It was also the year when the UK generated more electricity from zero carbon sources than fossil fuels for the first time. But the transition towards net zero is just getting started and we still have a long way to go.
To cement the UK’s position as a world leader on climate change action, I believe we need three things...
To cement the UK’s position as a world leader on climate change action, I believe we need three things:
First, investment and transformational engineering solutions. Our power sector has been at the forefront of the UK’s emissions reductions in the last ten years and we’re going to need far more zero-carbon power in the future to meet growing demand. This requires strategic thinking about our infrastructure. We also need greater progress on heating and transport, as well as breakthrough technologies and innovations, like Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, and exploring the use of hydrogen.
Second, we need the right people and skills. The UK is facing a substantial STEM skills gap and, to combat this, we need to recruit talent from every walk of life into the sector. At National Grid, we call this The Job That Can’t Wait. It’s one of the reasons we’ve invested £20m into training and development over the last 10 years and are proud to be the first UK apprenticeship provider rated ‘outstanding’.
Third, we must have a fair and just transition for consumers and employees. Reaching net zero will require a different mind-set – from industry, government, the regulator and consumers. We will all need to think, act and plan differently and, most of all, work together. Whether that’s business partnerships on net zero innovations, or industry and government collaborating to put in place the right policy framework, we all need to pull in the same direction and we must bring everyone with us.
This is a huge opportunity to lead by example and cement our position as a global climate leader.
With the UK government hosting the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow this year, all eyes will be on us. This is a huge opportunity to lead by example and cement our position as a global climate leader. At National Grid, we are excited to help drive forward the UK’s net zero goals and pleased to be supporting the Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group in such a critical year.