Climate Resilience

CategoryBanner

Our climate resilience propositions have been developed as a result of extensive stakeholder People and groups with an interest in our operations as the region’s electricity distribution network operator. This includes customers, local authorities and installers of low carbon technology engagement.

The climate in our communities is changing. Even with local, national and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, winters will be warmer and wetter, and summers will be hotter and drier. All seasons will see an increased likelihood of extreme weather.

We know it is critical to keep the power on for homes, businesses and the emergency services during these weather extremes. We also know that homes will become more dependent on electricity as we decarboniseThe reduction, and ultimately elimination, of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In relation to electricity this means the reduction of emissions caused by the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and the provision of entirely carbon-free electricity to homes and businesses. Decarbonisation of the whole energy system includes removing emissions from transport and heat, which will be powered by alternative low-carbon methods transport and heat. Our approach to climate resilience is key as we seek to ensure the availability of increasingly critical power supplies, even as the weather threatens them.

In recent years we have delivered 214 flood defence upgrades – 37 per cent more than we set out to at the start of our last business plan period. As we move into the next phase of business operations (2023-2028) our plan centres around our highest-risk areas of flood defence and storm resilience, while maintaining our operational effectiveness during major weather events. We will move forward with an innovative and holistic approach.

Customers will see the following outcomes:

  • maintenance of strong protection against substation flooding;
  • reduction to the impact of storms across our network;
  • improved vegetation management Vegetation management is the term we use for cutting back, pruning or removing trees, bushes and anything that grows near our equipment. It’s a key part of storm protection. If long branches swaying in the wind hit our power lines, it could knock the power out for our communities. By managing this vegetation, we reduce the chances of it coming into contact with our equipment and causing a power cut for our customers programmes;i
  • improved resilience and reduction to the risk of cascade failuresOne fault triggering another. For example, a power cut in one area after a storm leads to power cut in another area across systems;ii
  • maintenance of Operational resilience Taking measures to ensure the physical assets that make up our electricity network are robust in the face of extreme weather, malicious activity or other events that threaten power supply availability ; and
  • the embedding of long-term resilience across our asset Physical equipment connected to the grid that facilitates the generation and delivery of electricity, e.g. substations, transformers and solar panels programmes.

Actions we will take to achieve these outcomes include:

  • undertaking analysis to consider a range of climate change possibilities;
  • collaborating with the Environment Agency and local authorities on the implementation of their regional flood risk management plans;
  • sharing local-level resilience data with other Infrastructure providers Operators of the physical assets and networks that provide services to customers such as electricity and gas, or roads to identify dependencies;
  • maintaining flood resilience at all major substations and focussing on the highest-risk areas of flood defence and storm resilience;
  • increasing flooding protection at a number of our substations that are protected to ‘1:1000’ levels;iii
  • increasing our expenditure on vegetation management Vegetation management is the term we use for cutting back, pruning or removing trees, bushes and anything that grows near our equipment. It’s a key part of storm protection. If long branches swaying in the wind hit our power lines, it could knock the power out for our communities. By managing this vegetation, we reduce the chances of it coming into contact with our equipment and causing a power cut for our customers to respond to growth patterns;
  • using drones to assess storm damage;
  • trialling the installation of current flow monitorsDevices that measure the electrical current in a cable. We use this equipment to monitor the health of our assets to improve the resilience of our network in areas at risk of wildfires; and
  • embedding resilience across our asset Physical equipment connected to the grid that facilitates the generation and delivery of electricity, e.g. substations, transformers and solar panels programme, for example relocating substations when replacing them.

Benefits:

  • improved resilience – both near- and long-term – at lower cost;
  • improved operational response to post-storm restoration;
  • increased embedded resilience across all of our assets Physical equipment connected to the grid that facilitates the generation and delivery of electricity, e.g. substations, transformers and solar panels ;
  • better understanding of future risks;
  • improved network resilience efficiency through long-term adaptation; and
  • increased protection against flooding.

i Vegetation management Vegetation management is the term we use for cutting back, pruning or removing trees, bushes and anything that grows near our equipment. It’s a key part of storm protection. If long branches swaying in the wind hit our power lines, it could knock the power out for our communities. By managing this vegetation, we reduce the chances of it coming into contact with our equipment and causing a power cut for our customers is the term we use for cutting back, pruning or removing trees, bushes and anything that grows near our equipment. It’s a key part of storm protection. If long branches swaying in the wind hit our power lines, it could knock the power out for our communities. By managing this vegetation, we reduce the chances of it coming into contact with our equipment and causing outages for our customers.

ii A cascade failureOne fault triggering another. For example, a power cut in one area after a storm leads to power cut in another area is where one fault triggers another. For example a power cut in one area after a storm leading to an outage in another area.

iii What we mean by ‘1:1000’ is rare flooding. It’s a common term used to describe extreme flooding events. The term ‘1,000-year flood’ means that, statistically speaking, a flood of that magnitude (or greater) has a 1 in 1,000 chance of occurring in any given year. In terms of probability, the 1,000-year flood has a 0.1 per cent chance of happening in any given year.

What do you think of our proposals? (Really like / Like / Neither like or don’t like / Don’t like / Really don’t like / Unsure)

Note: Your responses will be saved each time you update your choices, so not all sections require a response.