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Energy sector adapting for a changing climate

Energy UK has published its third Climate Change Adaptation Report, detailing measures electricity generators have put in place to keep power plants - and other generating technologies - operating in the face of increasingly volatile weather and to mitigate other risks resulting from a changing climate.       

The report has been published today to coincide with an Energy UK-hosted Breakfast Briefing event on “UK Climate Change Adaptation and Power Sector Resilience” featuring expert panelists from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), The Climate Change Committee, Cabinet Office, Race to Resilience and SSE. 

The changing nature of the UK’s generation mix since the last report was published in 2015 is recognised by the inclusion of smaller power plants and windfarms this time round - showing how the application of best practice and development of high-quality adaptation plans helps them manage a variety of climate-related risks such as flooding, rising sea levels, drought, extreme temperatures and coastal erosion.   

Today’s report also informed last month’s Climate Change Committee progress report on adaptation which rated energy as one of the best performing sectors with the quality of its adaptation plans judged to be ‘high’.

While the consideration and mitigation of climate risks at the development stage of new energy projects are strengthened further, the sector is now also turning its focus to its interaction with the UK’s critical infrastructure in other sectors such as transport, water and telecommunications which depend on an uninterrupted power supply.    

Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: 

“The UK has set world-leading targets on tackling climate change and our ambitious Energy White Paper set out plans for a historic transformation of our energy system as we build back greener from the pandemic. 

“Energy UK’s report shows how the sector is rising to the challenges posed by climate change. We are working with industry, regulators and stakeholders to maintain and improve the resilience of energy infrastructure, networks and assets as we take into account future changes and manage climate change risks.” 

Minister for Climate Adaptation, Rebecca Pow said:

“I welcome this report by Energy UK on the action being taken to ensure our power supplies are resilient to climate change. It’s crucial that infrastructure providers take a proactive approach to managing climate risks, to protect the systems and services that we all rely on. Today’s report showcases this work by electricity companies. It adds to the growing body of evidence we have to help assess the nation’s resilience to climate change and ensure we future-proof our economy to its impacts.”

Energy UK’s chief executive, Emma Pinchbeck, added:

“However quickly we reduce emissions on the journey to Net Zero, adapting to the consequences of rising temperatures and extreme weather events – such as those seen recently in Canada and the American North West - will be essential over the coming years and decades.

“For a vital service like energy, the ability to withstand whatever the weather throws at it has long been built into the development and operation of power plants. As this report shows, generators have performed well by building in resilience to the risks from a changing climate.

“An increasingly volatile climate and a fast-changing generation mix, bringing far more numerous and diverse sources of low carbon power, means this challenge will continue to grow. Energy UK and our members will therefore continue to work closely with the Government, regulators and other key industries to ensure that the power we supply to every home and business in the UK continues to flow - as we look to build a secure, resilient future economy.”  

  

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