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Northern Powergrid looks to foster community energy growth with new strategy

Credit: Northern Powergrid.

Credit: Northern Powergrid.

Northern Powergrid has released its Community Energy Engagement Strategy in an effort to foster growth in the sector.

It contains 26 actions that the DNO will implement, allowing it to engage with stakeholders and community energy groups in order to amplify their voice and increase their opportunities. Ultimately, it hopes this will help to enable more community energy organisations to operate in the region.

Currently there are 21 community energy organisations in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, where the DNO operates. Throughout the UK community energy projects generated 168MW of electricity in 2018.

The actions are split into five sections; listen, inform, engage, empower and advocate. These will be further tested and refined over the next three years, allowing Northern Powergrid to include learnings from the strategy in its business plan for 2023-2028, the RIIO-ED2 price control period.

Anda Baumerte, sustainability manager and community energy contact at Northern Powergrid said that the company’s role was more than “keeping the lights on – we are a key enabler for regional decarbonisation".

“It is integral that we work collectively with the communities we support in order to address the climate emergency. This strategy demonstrates our commitment to go above and beyond to deliver on our common goals.”

The strategy has been put together following months of engagement with community energy stakeholders, and builds on Northern Powergrid’s previous work with community groups. It highlighted that it was the first UK DNO to set up a fund for community energy projects back in 2015.

In 2018, it also launched the Community Partnering Fund together with Northern Gas Networks, allowing community groups to bid for a role in energy projects.

Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England, said: “The path to net zero requires us to collaborate to ensure the transition is fair and leaves no community behind. By publishing this strategy, it’s clear that Northern Powergrid is taking its role as an enabler of community energy seriously.

“The company is demonstrating its commitment to delivering meaningful environmental, social, and local economic benefits across Yorkshire and the North East and we look to working with them to make that happen.”

Northern Powergrid has put out a call for further engagement throughout this period, details of which can be found in the full Community Energy Engagement Strategy.

It follows on from fellow DNO Western Power Distribution (WPD) releasing its community energy strategy in a bid to offer greater levels of support for local energy.

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