Decarbonising the UK energy system by 2050: BEAMA writes to Ministers to highlight the urgent need for a Government-led supply chain strategy

21 Feb 2020

BEAMA, the UK association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure, is this week writing to newly appointed Ministers to highlight the pressing need to transform the UK’s ageing electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure into a smart, low carbon and flexible electricity system. This transformation will enable the de-carbonisation of the UK energy system by 2050.

To meet Net-Zero required distribution network investment alone could range between £1.83 and £5.88billion a year by 2050 to facilitate the decarbonisation of heat.  This is an unprecedented level of change and considering also the growth in EV charging infrastructure, action needs to be taken to ensure the supply chain and network companies are working closely to deliver cost effective and sustainable change.

BEAMA believes Government and Ofgem must work with the supply chain to speed up innovation and maximise the benefits for the UK.  This will enable the UK to develop the best power networks in the world and ensure that the UK benefits from investment in the networks through innovation, new business and exports.

There are five criteria BEAMA believe are essential for success:

  • A Government led supply chain strategy: Government and Ofgem must work with industry to develop a clear Government-led supply chain strategy that provides certainty for industry to invest. The UK energy system is at a high transition period, so there is an urgent need for enhanced supply chain engagement and supply chain planning. 
  • An environment which grows and expands the UK supply chain: We welcome National Grid’s ‘Building the Net Zero Energy Workforce’ report and support their concern at the skills challenge facing the UK.  However, a strong supply chain could assist in meeting the demand.
  • Representation on Ofgem’s Net Zero Advisory Group: Ofgem’s ‘Decarbonisation Action Plan’ announced that they are setting up a Net Zero Advisory Group.  It is vital that all stakeholders – including manufacturers of electrical infrastructure products - are brought together so that we can develop an energy system that makes use of all of the options available to us. 
  • Investment decisions based on whole life cost benefit assessments: We must move to a situation where investment decisions are based on comprehensive, whole life cost benefit assessments that protects the interest of both future and current consumers.  
  • Close monitoring of international markets and standards: We are working in a world market with countries competing to be the best locations to develop the markets and technologies that will underpin net zero.  The UK is well placed because of its market structure, commitment to net zero and innovation to take the lead but it is vital that the

UK keeps a close eye on what is being done overseas so that we can make sure we genuinely are in the lead and maintain that position.

 

Dr Howard Porter, BEAMA CEO, said “In order to deliver Net-Zero by 2050 it is essential the UK has a fully functioning supply chain to support critical national infrastructure.

The existing regulatory framework (RIIO) doesn’t go far enough to support a UK supply chain and ensure it is ready for this huge transition. We have learnt great lessons from Government led supply chain strategies for offshore wind in helping to grow a new market.  We now embark on work, engaging with Ministers and government departments to share our ideas and expertise on how we can do the same to support a profitable UK market for a low carbon energy system in the UK.   

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • BEAMA represents an industry with a turnover of £12.6billion, employing a workforce of 89,500.  BEAMA represents more than 200 companies, from start-ups and SMEs to large multinationals and our members help enable a safe and secure UK low-carbon energy system. 
  • For further information and to discuss interview opportunities please contact Harriet Dyball on harriet@crosthwaitecommunications.co.uk / 07779 656831.