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Q & A from the HAUC(UK) Convention now available

Road to Net Zero
Q - What is the Road to Net Zero project?

A - This is the plan for an organisation to reduce their business carbon footprint to zero net impact before the government deadline of 2050. Visit the Road to Net Zero website - click here.

Q - What percentage of the electricity underground network will need reinforcement to achieve net zero.

A - We will utilise existing network capacity and then flexibility where an increase in capacity is required. There will be a requirement to reinforce the network but to what extent is unknown at this stage.

Q - Is there enough power being generated currently to cope with the demand today?

A - Yes - there is enough generation to meet current demands.

Q - How do you see the solution for HGV charging being progressed? Is electric charging seen as a short term fix and will the networks be able to cope with such demand?

A - It is uncertain at this stage what the future arrangements for HGV propulsion will be however hydrogen or an alternative low carbon fuel is the most likely possibility. However should electric charging be a requirement then that can be built into the electricity distribution network operator forecasting.

Q - Some of the projects are potentially substantial, what is the engagement plan with affected authorities and the public and the likely timeframes ahead of works?

A - At National Grid we aim to engage with every local authority as a minimum on an annual basis and will be discussing plans for an horizon of 10 years.

Q - So far there has been discussions based on extra work being undertaken, however we have a utility work force that has an average age profile of 50 years old, how are you all intending to take on an develop extra person to undertake this work, as all utilities are struggling to get personnel?

A - The key to this is having a healthy and extensive recruitment and training pipeline and taking on apprentices on an annual basis which we have at National Grid.

Q - How can you ensure renewable/lower carbon power is available to all without becoming a privilege of the rich?

A - At National Grid we will offer to develop SMART Energy Action Plans which will assist our fuel poor and vulnerable customers to access low carbon technology.

Q - There is a tension between the projected increase in works and the carbon impact of those works when we need to significantly reduce the overall carbon impact. How will the various sectors prioritise and balance these tensions?

A - We have to take a longer term view and understand that where network upgrades are required to facilitate the connection of low carbon technology then the net carbon impact will ultimately benefit the environment.

Q - As an industry how are we going to incentivise people into the industry, as we are all aware that there is a lack of personnel to undertake the existing work, this is with out the extra work on the horizon?

A - This is about having clear discussions about future requirements with our supply chains and ensuring that they have adequate time and visibiliy to ramp up to meet demand.

Q - Everyone has spoken of the need for a industry wide collaborative approach. How can we encourage the Utility Sector to actively engage with Authorities in this process?

A - This is already been done by the regulators and the government. Overall a whole system energy approach is required for the industry and the country to meet net zero.

Q - Given power and water presentations both highlight increased major investment, do the panel feel adequate legislation is in place to best ensure opportunities to share future plans and maximise collaboration opportunities?

A - Yes - currently the industry is working collaboratively to achieve net zero. I'm not sure what further legislation would achieve that cannot be achieved by existing co-operation by all the key players.

Q - Does the panel think that there ought to be new legislation relating to the introduction of instant fines for utility companies and authority works that do not comply with Chapter 8 and the code of practice?

A - No - continued co-operation and communication with the local authorities streetworks teams is a better route to achieving minimum disruption to the road network.

Q - Out of interest how big is Birmingham City Council Streetworks Team, before and after the implementation of permits?

A - We increased from a team of 6 to currently 27.

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