Environmental Action Plan

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Protecting our environment is a top priority for both us and our customers, which is why we have engaged extensively with our stakeholders 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 to develop our environmental action plan (EAP).

As we manage, maintain and improve the local electricity network, we must minimise the negative impact of our operations and meet our regulatory expectations, while maximising the opportunities we have to positively impact our communities.

We enter our next business plan period (2023-2028) in a strong position, having significantly outperformed previous environmental commitments and reduced our business carbon footprint (BCF) by 44 per cent and our oil/fluid losses to ground by 37 per cent.

We will proactively seek to protect the environment – from improving biodiversity to improving the energy efficiency of our buildings – through our investments and operations and by working collaboratively with partnersOrganisations with whom we collaborate on projects and operations within our regions and our sector and our supply chain. This will deliver innovative, cost‐effective solutions that reduce or eliminate environmental risk exposure. In doing so, we will minimise carbon emissions, pollution and waste and, where possible, seek to enhance the local environments in which we operate.

Customers will see the following outcomes:

  • enhanced protection of the environment in which we operate;
  • a 20 per cent reduction in our internal BCF;
  • management and optimisation of losses from our network;
  • improved environmental management in our supply chain;
  • a 15 per cent reduction in oil lost to the ground from fluid-filled cables; and
  • removal of historically present hazardous PCB-contaminated cables by 2025.i

Actions we will take to achieve these outcomes include:

  • improving biodiversity at 25 per cent of our major substation sites through collaborative partnerships;
  • moving 61km of overhead lines underground to improve the view in areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB);
  • undertaking site enhancements to mitigate noise from our assets Physical equipment connected to the grid that facilitates the generation and delivery of electricity, e.g. substations, transformers and solar panels ;
  • installing renewable energy sources at suitable sites;
  • adopting science-based targets to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in line with net zero Achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions being produced (including carbon dioxide) and greenhouse gas emissions being taken out of the atmosphere (e.g. by planting more trees) so that, overall, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is no longer increasing ;
  • implementing BREEAM A sustainability certification and assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings and gaining accreditation at 10 sites;ii
  • increasing ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs)ULEVs must emit 75g/km CO2 or less in our fleet by 40 per cent and reducing fleet fuel by 40 per cent;iii
  • implementing charging Infrastructure The different parts of Northern Powergrid’s network, such as overhead power lines, underground cables, substations etc. Individually, these items are sometimes referred to as ‘assets’ at major substations, depots and employee premises to support the additional ULEVs in our fleet;
  • reducing SF6 (sulphur hexafluorideA greenhouse gas emission , a greenhouse gas emission) lost to ground from fluid-filled cables by 15 per cent;
  • improving energy-efficiency at our substations;
  • installing low loss high voltage (HV) and low voltage (LV) cables and reporting on losses strategy;
  • introducing new, positive environmental values that 90 per cent of our supply chain must comply with;
  • replacing 40km of fluid-filled cables to reduce leaks;
  • dosing 250km of fluid-filled cables with PFT to reduce fluid leaks;iv
  • rolling out self-healing cable solutions (subject to successful trials); and
  • removing PCBs from our network by 31 December 2025 in line with legislation.

Benefits:

  • reduction in carbon emissions, improved air quality and lower levels of pollution;
  • reduction in damage to the environment and removal of hazardous materials;
  • improved visual amenity, ecosystems and biodiversity (increased variety of flora and fauna);
  • removal of hazardous materials;
  • reduced energy and fuel use;
  • less waste to landfill;
  • reduction in our own carbon footprint; and
  • wider contribution to tackling climate breakdown.

i PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls; a previously widely used coolant fluid in electrical equipment. Under legislation all PCBs must be removed from equipment by 2025.

ii Sustainability certification and assessment method for master planning projects, Infrastructure The different parts of Northern Powergrid’s network, such as overhead power lines, underground cables, substations etc. Individually, these items are sometimes referred to as ‘assets’ and buildings.

iii ULEVs must emit 75g/km CO2 or less.

iv SF6 = Sulphur hexafluorideA greenhouse gas emission , a greenhouse gas emission.

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