How the UK’s energy networks are connecting with communities

With Net Zero networks to deliver by 2050, making sure that stakeholders’ voices are heard is more important than ever to the energy networks

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A decarbonised future is as much local as it is national, and the UK’s energy networks are focused on working with local businesses and communities to ensure a lower cost, resilient, zero carbon energy system that leaves nobody behind.

Community energy groups are a vital part of the shift to net zero carbon emissions, and Energy Networks Association (ENA) is building on its engagement across industry to make sure that stakeholder voices are heard and acted on.

As part of this, Energy Networks Association’s Community Energy Forum programme provides a dedicated opportunity for community groups to discuss the practicality of industry and communities working together to get the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time to help us on the road to Net Zero. The 2022 forum programme launched last week and once again will be run by community energy experts Regen to bring together community groups from across the country to learn more about the transformation of the energy networks. More information on the two forums being held this year is below.

Broader stakeholder engagement is an essential part of progressing to decarbonised networks. In addition to Community Energy Forums, through its flagship Net Zero programmes, ENA works with stakeholders across the sector via a variety of events and webinars on a range of issues – with recent examples ranging from how we modernise the gas networks and making sure that components are hydrogen-ready, to boosting flexibility in electricity networks and a tool that helps DNOs see exactly how much flexibility has been delivered by providers.

ENA also introduced a new event series this year, titled ‘Next for Net Zero’. These events showcase the emerging technologies needed to address the decarbonisation of heat, transport and industry and drive the UK to Net Zero. The first event, held online, was on Building an offshore super grid and is available on ENA’s YouTube page, with additional events later in the year looking at areas including home heating and showcasing local authority/community activity.

If you are a community energy representative and are interested in attending ENA’s Community Energy Forums, please see below for more information and visit ENA’s website to sign up.

Ofgem’s Access and Forward-Looking Charges Significant Code Review – June 7th

Following a productive community engagement session with Ofgem last year, ENA are listening to feedback regarding engaging further with community voices by hosting another session which will focus on the final decision of Ofgem’s Access and Forward-Looking Charges Significant Code Review (SCR). This forum will give attendees more information about the impact of Ofgem’s Final Decision on network access and forward-looking charging, with the opportunity to discuss how these changes will impact community energy generation and demand projects. It will also cover how the networks plan to respond to the review, with a discussion on what the networks will do help community energy organisations considering these changes.

Open Networks programme work for 2023 – September 8th

Attendees will get the chance to influence the scope of work that ENA will undertake next year, with input feeding directly into its world leading Open Networks programme’s 2023 consultation.

The first discussion will focus on flexibility, how community energy organisations can get involved and what the networks should be doing to support them. The second discussion will be focused on the high-level scope of ENA’s Open Networks programme next year and what areas should be prioritised.