Ofgem unveils plans for local networks

Ofgem is targeting a greener and fairer energy system for British consumers after publishing its proposals to transform local electricity networks.

On 30 July, Ofgem said its proposals will look to unlock the necessary investment to ensure local networks are able to drive forward green energy and transport for Britain. This will include securing the capacity and infrastructure to support up to 11mn electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads by 2030, along with the infrastructure needed to deliver clean heat to homes and businesses and help connect the increase in renewable energy produced locally.

This includes proposals to help companies to “speedily and reliably” upgrade the network ahead of expected increases in local demand for electricity. Specifically, Ofgem is consulting on four different models to enable strategic green investment to drive forward net zero emissions by local network companies. Elsewhere, it includes a strategic innovation fund across all energy networks – worth an initial £450mn – to drive more research and development into green energy.

It is also proposing measures to make sure that network operators can efficiently manage the electricity flowing through their grids. This includes requiring companies to grow their capacity using flexible solutions, where possible, instead of building expensive new network capacity. Drawing on its own analysis, Ofgem said that if EV owners use flexible charging, at least 60% more EVs could be charged by using existing capacity.

The consultation period will close on 1 October 2020.