Northern Powergrid is aiming to increase the voice and opportunities for community energy groups with the release of its Community Energy Engagement Strategy.
The strategy, covering 2020 to 2023, sets out Northern Powergrid’s vision for supporting communities and community energy organisations in its region, recognising the “unique barriers” that some face. It plans to support them in a variety of ways, including so that they can develop and connect more low carbon generation technologies that improve reliability and can supply energy locally, using Northern Powergrid’s network. It will also look to amplify their voice with BEIS and Ofgem.
The strategy commits Northern Powergrid to 26 actions in total, including greater face-to-face engagement; facilitating more collaboration to help communities build partnerships and deliver viable large-scale projects; and a pledge for more innovation projects with communities, especially on voltage reduction and smart grids, helping them to find new business models at scale. Other commitments include exploring how technical support, training and resources can be offered to community energy organisations to build their skills, building capacity and support new community energy business models at scale.
The actions will be further tested and refined over the next three years, with Northern Powergrid including learnings from its strategy in its business plan for 2023-2028 – the RIIO-ED2 price control period.
Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England, said: “The path to net zero requires us to collaborate to ensure the transition is fair and leaves no community behind. By publishing this strategy, it’s clear that Northern Powergrid is taking its role as an enabler of community energy seriously. The company is demonstrating its commitment to delivering meaningful environmental, social, and local economic benefits across Yorkshire and the North East and we look to working with them to make that happen.”