Four-country coordination on grid

Map of UK industry

On 2 August 2023 NICW wrote to Ministers in different parts of the UK on the need for greater coordination on grid issues.

Julie James MS
Minister for Climate Change, Welsh Government

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, UK Government 

Gillian Martin MSP
Minister for Energy and the Environment, Scottish Government 

2 August 2023

Dear Ministers

Proposal for a 4 Nations Intergovernmental Ministerial Working Group on the UK Electricity Grid

The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales’ role is to analyse, advise and make recommendations to the Welsh Government on Wales’ longer term strategic economic and environmental infrastructure needs over a 5–80-year period.  In early 2022, NICW was issued a new remit by Welsh Ministers. This included a focus on the climate and nature emergencies and the need to achieve the Welsh Government’s net zero goals.  

Since the Commission began its work a year ago we have been examining the renewable energy sector in Wales, this will culminate in a report to the Welsh Ministers later this year. However, across our many conversations with stakeholders from the public and private sector, coordination on Grid issues around the devolved administrations has been raised on numerous occasions. 

The challenges of the climate and nature emergencies continue to present new and complex difficulties for communities across the UK. One of our shared objectives is the need for a rapid increase in the delivery of renewable energy accessible by all. In delivering renewable energy solutions alongside the transmission of electricity into our heat and transport networks the national electricity grid has a major role to play. Our current position is that for many parts of the UK the national grid is inaccessible, needs significant upgrade and lacks the innovative technological and social solutions that can assist in accelerated pathways to net zero. 

The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales prides itself on providing radical and practical solutions that influence policy, funding, and regulatory change. These recommendations are designed to stretch beyond simply assessing our infrastructure needs and supporting long term change, ensuring the wellbeing of our future generations to 2100. The urgency to deliver the basic need of abundant, affordable clean energy that reduces the cost of living and provides businesses with a chance of growth has never been more apparent. 

Reaching our climate mitigation and adaption goals is not something we in Wales can achieve alone and with this in mind we would like to suggest the creation of a 4 Nations intergovernmental ministerial working group on the UK electricity grid and renewables infrastructure that provides shared strategic direction and implementable solutions that will enable all nations equally to deliver on our shared climate goals. 

We would be happy to meet to discuss with your officials how such a group might operate.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Jenifer Baxter
Ddirprwy Gadeirydd / Deputy Chair