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We have signed up to United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign

  • We have signed up to the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign – the largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions; 
  • The electricity distribution network operator has pledged to become a net zero business by 2028, 22 years ahead of the UN target 
  • In the latest draft of its new Business Plan, WPD is proposing to invest around £6 billion in its network between 2023-2028 

Wind turbines at sunset

We have today today announced that we have signed up to the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign – the largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Ahead of COP26, which is set to take place in Glasgow in November this year, the UK Government has been urging companies to join the Race to Zero and align with Government ambitions by eliminating their contributions to climate change by 2050. As part of its Race to Zero pledge, we have committed to go even further and faster and become a carbon neutral business by 2028 - 22 years ahead of the UK Government and UN’s targets.

Our 2028 net zero pledge is just one of 45 commitments to appear in the latest draft of our Business Plan for the RIIO-ED2 price control period. The plan, which was developed in collaboration with more than 19,000 regional stakeholders, also outlines how we plan to invest a record £6 billion in network improvement, environmental sustainability, and new community energy projects across our licence area.

We will also provide further support to the green recovery by ensuring capacity is available to achieve net zero across our regions. This will be in line with the ambitions of local authorities and other stakeholders, some of which hope to achieve net zero as early as 2030. We have also committed up to £59 million for the next two years to support unlocking green jobs and green growth across our region.

Over the next seven years, we will be working to decarbonise our operations, from depots to vehicles. We are currently working on a vehicle decarbonisation plan that will look to replace our fleet of vehicles with decarbonised modes of transport. Further details on the fleet decarbonisation plan will be released later this year.

Commenting on the commitment to the Race to Zero, WPD Chief Executive Phil Swift said: “WPD has always been an innovator in the industry, and I am pleased to confirm that we have pledged the strongest net zero commitment announced by any network operator so far. Our innovation programme is working on the latest energy network technologies and techniques to help achieve the Government’s net zero ambitions. I am looking forward to continuing our work to ensure a greener future not only for WPD, but for the communities we serve.”

Welcoming WPD’s commitment, the UK Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP, said: “I am delighted to see that Western Power Distribution has signed up to the Race to Zero, a crucial step in this year of climate action. Western Power Distribution joins the ranks of many of the UK’s leading companies in committing to this respected kitemark, strengthening the UK’s position as a global leader in the run up to COP26.”

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