Future Oxfordshire Partnership Advocates for Urgent Action on Grid Constraints Hindering Net Zero Goals

June 30, 2023

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership, a committee of Oxfordshire's six local authorities working with key strategic partners working to deliver a sustainable future for the county, calls to address critical concerns hindering net zero ambitions in the region.

Grid constraints in both transmission and distribution elements are causing significant delays in delivering essential renewable energy projects and decarbonization activities. This bottleneck extends to crucial initiatives such as the rollout of electric vehicle chargers and heat pump installations, obstructing progress and inhibiting inward investment in Oxfordshire.

Strategic Response:

In June 2023, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership responded proactively to the government’s Environmental Audit Committee’s call for evidence on ‘The sustainable electrification of the UK economy.’ The partnership voiced concerns about the feasibility of meeting the National Government's ambitious target to decarbonize the electricity grid by 2035, citing significant delays in grid connections that impede the scaling up of renewable projects.

Key Highlights:

  1. RIIO ED2 Determinations: The partnership emphasized the need for regulatory price control determinations that actively enable anticipatory investment in grid infrastructure, informed by robust local     data and insight to support the transition to net zero.
  2. Zombie Projects: The Partnership called for a national directive to review and eliminate 'zombie projects' within the system, unlocking capacity and allowing ready-to-go renewable schemes to come online without unnecessary and costly infrastructure upgrades.
  3. Decentralized Energy Generation: Recognizing the importance of decentralized energy generation, the Partnership advocated for the development of mini-grids, building on the successful learnings from Project LEO.
  4. Climate Adaptation: Any grid development or reinforcement activities must incorporate an understanding of the impacts of varying temperature increases, ensuring resilient energy systems that can adapt appropriately.

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership stands committed to overcoming grid constraints and fostering a sustainable, decarbonized energy system. Urgent collaboration is imperative to ensure Oxfordshire remains at the forefront of the net zero transition, attracting investment and securing a resilient energy future.

You can read the full submission here.

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