WPD sets out first Net Zero Communities Strategy

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is aiming to support community and local energy organisations in delivering their local climate and energy plans with a new strategy.

On 4 May, WPD launched its Net Zero Communities Strategy, developed in partnership with Regen, setting out its commitment to accelerating net zero in communities across its four licence areas. It explained that it believes that a “bottom-up” approach will be vital to meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero goal and that will mean collaborating with communities to upgrade the network and ensure that they have the necessary support to connect more low carbon generation.

The strategy outlines how WPD intends to work with local authorities and local communities, with commitments including making new connections easier for community-generated energy projects; working with communities on more innovation projects on smart local energy systems that help it to develop new business models; and helping local groups access data to develop smart local energy system projects. The strategy also signalled WPD’s commitment to raise awareness of its business carbon footprint, to be reported annually in its Environment and Innovation Report; to start carbon reporting on the services it buys; and to make a clear statement on the links between carbon/net zero and communities in its next business plan, RIIO-ED2, coming in December 2020.

Alison Sleightholm, Resources and External Affairs Director at WPD, said: “Community energy organisations help us to ensure our energy system is fair and does not leave behind the most vulnerable in our communities. To achieve a smarter and more flexible energy system for the future requires all of us in homes and businesses across the country to be on board.”