Western Power Distribution (WPD) is pledging to become net zero by 2028, reiterating its plans to invest £6 billion in network transformation.
The network operator has laid out further details of its roadmap to a smarter network to manage increased demand throughout its region, with 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps expected to be added by 2028.
Reflecting the views of almost 10,000 stakeholders over two years, the company’s 2023-2028 RIIO-ED2 business plan was published first in January when it opened for consultation.
In this original plan, the company was targeting net zero by 2043, and has brought it forwards dramatically following the review.
“Having listened to our stakeholders from the first draft of our business plan, they have asked us to scale up our ambitions for 2023-2028,” said Mark Shaw, RIIO-ED2 Business Plan manager. “As a result, 60 per cent of our core commitments have increased in ambition, and we’re expecting even more valuable contributions from this next consultation phase.”
The network operator has placed the environment at the heart of the plan, including tackling its carbon footprint by entirely replacing its fleet with electric vehicles, and creating a sustainable network.
“We’re leading on community-led renewable energy, energy flexibility and community energy projects, and on top of this, we’ve committed £80 million to the UK’s Green Recovery, as part of our pledge to unlock green jobs and green growth across our region”, added Shaw.
WPD’s plan includes helping 113,000 customers in fuel poverty by avoiding short-term fixes and making lasting improvement that will help unlock the benefits of a low carbon future, bringing savings of £60 million.
Another period of consultation will open now, with local customers and stakeholders encouraged to comment by 25 April 2021, with the final draft of the plan to be submitted to Ofgem by December.