Welsh Government and network operators to work together on plan as UK first for integrated energy grid for net zero

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The Welsh Government has announced to be working closely with the country’s existing electricity and gas network operators to make sure their networks can support energy systems’ transformation, which the Committee on Climate Change says is necessary by 2030.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, commented: “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.”

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

To do this, the Welsh Government reports to be 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.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, commented: “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, added: “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.

“We look forward to working together to ensure we prepare our network to match the government’s ambitions.”