Energy Networks: Insight Briefing

Hywel Lloyd
This insight briefing examines the Net Zero transition in relation to the energy networks that connect our homes, workplaces, commercial and industrial buildings to sources of energy for heat and power, and the role of local authorities within this transition.

As highlighted in the UK100 report Power Shift, and that of others such as the Climate Change Committee (CCC), local authorities are essential in the successful delivery of Net Zero; but are as yet underutilised actors that could do much more with the right resources, powers and roles in the transition.

This briefing looks at the transition affecting the energy networks that connect our homes and workplaces, our commercial and industrial buildings, to sources of energy for heat, and power, that fuel our lives. It explores how local authorities can be involved in that transition to Net Zero to make it more effective and for the greater benefit of all their local residents.

While we all may have a sense of who ‘supplies’ our gas or electricity, few know of the other companies that own, run and look after the pipes and wires that bring the gas, electricity and in some places heat to our home or office. The companies that run these direct connections to our buildings are known as network operators, be that for gas, electricity or heat.

There is also the National Grid, a company that primarily owns and looks after the movement at scale (transmission) of gas and electricity from the North Sea, the gas terminals at ports, as well as electricity from the larger scale generators dotted across the country.

This briefing explores how local authorities can work with Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to align their plans for energy distribution with local energy planning.