Festival Net Zero: Net zero opportunities and the wider policy landscape

Experts from Gemserv, SSE and UK Power Networks took to the stage to explore how businesses can make the most of the transition to a low carbon economy

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Festival Net Zero saw experts from Gemserv, SSE and UK Power Networks take to the stage to discuss the opportunities presented to businesses as a result of the transition to a low carbon economy, as well as the wider policy landscape needed to facilitate this shift.

Clare Jackson, Head of Innovation at Gemserv, stressed that the interface between policy and technology must form a huge part of the picture. Describing the journey to deliver net zero as a “monumental” challenge, she noted it was a mission that the entire team at Gemserv were excited to be a part of.

She added: “It’s a challenge to be stepped up to and we are really excited to work with industry and government to deliver it.

“It’s important to remember that the technologies that will enable us to deliver net zero already exist – waiting around for new technologies that might save the day to be developed is a little naive, we have to work with what we’ve got.”

Sam Peacock, Director of Corporate Affairs and Strategy at SSE, emphasised that COP26 will act like steroids for the net zero policy environment, by driving growth, speeding up progress and helping to replicate successes seen in offshore wind in difficult-to-decarbonise sectors such as heat and transport.

He acknowledged that there is a lot to do as a country to get the necessary policy frameworks in place but highlighted developments such as the ten-point plan are signs that the government is  “really stepping up ambition”.

Mr Peacock suggested the next stage needs to see the regulator matching this ambition in upcoming price controls to provide the industry with a solid framework to deliver net zero.

UK Power Networks CEO Basil Scarsella highlighted his company’s plans to go net zero across its scope 1 and scope 3 emissions by 2028, noting that it was the responsibility of the business to help its 6,000+ employees transition to net zero.

Speaking to future Net Zero Co-Founder Sumit Bose, Mr Scarsella said that as a distribution network operator (DNO), UK Power Networks has a vital role to play in enabling net zero for the regions it controls.

He added: “The most important contribution we make is enabling the transition of the economy to net zero, we must first decarbonise electricity, secondly decarbonise transport and heat – we play a vital role in allowing all of that to happen.”

 

We have produced a thought leadership report with all of our partners to help you navigate your path to net zero – you can download it here.