The progress towards achieving industrial decarbonisation in the UK is being impeded by challenges related to access to adequate electricity grid infrastructure.
That’s according to a survey by the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), which suggests a significant number of companies reported waiting several years for new grid connections.
Preliminary evidence gathered from 26 companies situated across major UK industrial clusters and dispersed industrial sites highlights that delays in obtaining new or upgraded electricity grid connections emerge as a major barrier to decarbonisation efforts.
In some cases, connection date offers extended well into the 2030s, according to the study.
These delays are anticipated to escalate costs, pose risks to critical investments and result in missed opportunities to address industrial emissions.
The delays in securing new or upgraded electricity connections are affecting various pathways to decarbonisation, including electrification, onsite electricity generation, hydrogen generation, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and energy efficiency.
IDRIC’s survey encompasses general manufacturing firms, energy companies and foundation industry sectors such as cement, ceramics, chemicals, food and drink, paper and pulp and metals, among others.
Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Director of IDRIC, said: “The UK Government’s target is to reduce industrial emissions by 69% by 2035, relative to 2022. To achieve this, the Climate Change Committee’s 2023 report stated that it would require urgent and radical change in the UK’s manufacturing and industrial sectors.
“The overarching aim of this industry survey is to take stock of the current limitations impacting industrial decarbonisation as a whole. Ultimately, to achieve the government’s critical goals in tackling climate change, companies must reduce emissions at scale. IDRIC is looking to continue collaborating with relevant stakeholders to support the update of industrial policies to accelerate the pace of change.”