Welsh Government and network operators plan UK-first integrated energy grid

Wales aims to be the first country to have a joint approach to developing its gas and electricity networks.

The Welsh Government is working closely with Wales’ existing electricity and gas network operators to make sure networks can support the energy systems’ transformation, necessary by 2030.

To do this the Welsh Government is leading the development of a strategic plan for the future energy grid to 2050. This work will gather and assess evidence, consider scenarios, and advise on short-term ‘low regret’ actions that can be taken immediately.

The Welsh Government believes a planned approach is best suited to developing networks that meet the future needs of places and people and provide the best long-term value for society.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said: “I am delighted to announce that all the energy network operators in Wales, and Ofgem, have agreed to work with us to develop what we believe is a UK first – an integrated, long-term plan for gas and electricity networks in Wales.

“Developing and delivering infrastructure plans is a long-term process. However, the climate emergency means we must move as quickly as possible. We need to get this right, as it will be a once-in-a-century change to our infrastructure. We will of course need to involve all sectors in this work, and I am committed to doing this as the work develops.”

Sarah Williams, Wales & West Utilities Director of Regulation & Asset Strategy, said: “We’re pleased to be part of this industry leading project – which is critical if we are to get to Net Zero and help communities and industry right across Wales decarbonise in a way that is reliable and sustainable.

“By working together, we can keep the impact on customers’ bills to a minimum while unlocking the potential of green gas like hydrogen and biomethane alongside renewable electricity.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re committed to working with the Welsh Government and our other network operators to deliver a network ready for Net Zero. That’s why we’re looking to invest over £650m in the electricity distribution network in Wales from 2023 to 2028, supporting hundreds of green jobs and enabling the decarbonisation of heat and transport that is absolutely crucial to deliver Wales’ climate change targets.

Sean Sullivan, South Wales Network Services Manager for Western Power Distribution, said: “We are delighted that the Welsh Government is taking proactive steps to make net zero a reality in Wales. We have already made great strides in ensuring that the electricity network is smarter, greener and capable of supporting a low carbon future, with increasing amounts of renewable energy and low carbon technologies such as electric vehicle chargers being connected to our network.”

Image: Shutterstock

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