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WPD announces the net zero leaders

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has revealed the local authorities who are ‘leading the way’ when it comes to getting set for a low carbon future.

The data has come from the company’s annual Distribution Future Energy Scenarios, which it uses to predict demand on the network. The scenarios are based on data from a range of sources, including the number of customers installing low carbon technologies (LCTs), such as solar panels and electric vehicle chargers, planned large-scale investment and engagement with local authorities, including Local Area Energy Plans.

WPD’s DSO Manager Ben Godfrey said: “Many of the assets on our network have a 40-year lifespan so we are already putting in place parts of the network that will be operational when the country is set to reach net zero.

"This means that forecasting is a vital part of our activity as we have to ensure our network meets the needs of every community we serve. As we move into our next price control period our RIIO-ED2 Business Plan commits us to supporting the net zero ambitions of every local authority within our licence areas.”

The scenarios, which are agreed at an industry-wide level, provide four potential outcomes for all local authority areas and model the prevalence of a variety of LCTs under each scenario. WPD then uses detailed stakeholder engagement to build a ‘best view’ outcome for medium-term growth projections.

Scenarios include Consumer Transformation – where customer uptake of LCTs is driving demand on the network – and System Transformation – where large-scale investment is predicted to have the biggest impact on electricity demand. The local authority areas that have been assigned WPD’s most accelerated ‘leading the way’ scenario have a combination of ambitious energy plans and residents who are embracing LCTs.

“The pathway to net zero will be local,” added Ben. “It is critical that we are able to free up network capacity in the right areas so our customers can be confident that, when they wish to connect LCTs, an affordable connection will be available in a timely manner. Engagement with local authorities is an essential part of delivering on this commitment and we will tailor the network to meet their local energy plans.”

Between 2023 and 2028 WPD expects to connect an additional 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps to its network.

The local authorities that achieved WPD’s ‘leading the way’ status in 2020-21 are: Abertawe – Swansea, Bedford Borough, Bristol City, Caerffili – Caerphilly, Cannock Chase District, Central Bedfordshire, Cherwell, Corby Borough, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Kettering District, Milton Keynes, Northampton Borough, Nottingham City, Nuneaton and Bedworth District, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Northamptonshire, South Staffordshire District, Stoke-on-Trent City, Telford and Wrekin, Torfaen. Corby and Kettering have since become part of North Northamptonshire Council, while Northampton Borough and South Northamptonshire have become part of West Northamptonshire Council.

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