The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has laid out its five key priorities ahead of the Scottish election.
In order to support climate action, the incoming Scottish government should align the RIIO-ED2 framework with the nation's energy plans, said the association. The upcoming price period will be instrumental in removing barriers to decarbonising heat and transport it added, and therefore it is essential that framework is reflected in the work devolved administrations put in place for the energy sector.
Secondly, the ENA is calling on the Scottish government to refine the planning system to support the infrastructure of the future. This should include on and offshore planning activities, it said, highlighting that “collaboration will be critical” to reaching net zero and local networks must have their role in the transition recognised.
Greening gas is the associations third priority, in particular the upcoming hydrogen action plan, which should set out a clear statement of ambition. Already there is a large-scale green hydrogen project underway in Scotland, launched by ScottishPower and potentially including the UK’s largest electrolyser.
Next the ENA is urging commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure, highlighting the need to ramp-up the rollout of chargers so “no communities are left behind”. It pointed to Project PACE, which has used an DNO-led model to plan the siting and delivery of public charging, and called for such models to be scaled up across the country.
Finally, decarbonising heat and homes must be a priority for the incoming Scottish government following the election on 6 May. The ENA said that it “firmly believes” that greening the gas grid needs to be considered alongside heat pumps, for when they are not an appropriate solution.
Previous Scottish governments have “set a high bar for action on climate change” said David Smith, chief executive at ENA, and “it’s now imperative that we seize the opportunity of this consensus to align policy and regulation with ambition".
“The UK’s energy network operators have a strong track record of delivery and have demonstrated globally recognised leadership in green innovation and investment through Ofgem’s RIIO regulatory framework for many years.
"Innovation will be at the forefront of this investment round with technologies like battery storage, renewables, heat pumps and the electrification of transport through the installation of electric vehicle hubs and rapid charging at motorway service stations.”