National Grid needs ‘tens of billions’ to hit net zero goals, boss warns
Britain’s electricity network needs tens of billions of pounds of investment to hit net zero goals, National Grid boss John Pettigrew has warned.
The chief executive said the grid required significant cash but investment would lower bills.
Pettigrew told the Sunday Times: “There’s a real opportunity here… infrastructure investment over time will reduce the UK’s exposure to world gas prices and reduce energy prices, as well as create jobs and enhance GDP.
“It is tens of billions of pounds of infrastructure investment over several decades, but from an affordability perspective, it will ultimately reduce the bill for customers.”
Transmission costs for average UK households are a minute portion of total bills – about £22 a year. Energy is currently price-capped at £3,280.
Pettigrew said the transmission network needed its biggest revamp since its launch in 1935 to enable a future powered by offshore wind, electric vehicles and household heat pumps.
He warned there was “no time to lose” and called for planning reform and a new, independent future system operator to lead on net zero.
Ministers want to decarbonise UK power by 2035, but the National Grid says it will need five times as many pylons and below ground lines and four times as many undersea cables.
Switching the ‘first-come, first-served’ approval process to one of merit was also needed. It comes after some critics have said the grid has failed to deliver required upgrades in recent years, with renewable firms Scottish Power and Octopus citing permit delays.
RenewableUK boss Dan McGrail said the grid was “the big bottleneck” to modernising the industry.