National Grid sets out its Net zero targets to 2030

The energy provider has identified key areas for emissions reductions that meet scientific approval including helping to curb indirect emissions by consumers over the next 10 years.

Having already laid out an optimistic set of scenarios forecasting the UK’s ability to become carbon net zero ahead of the 2050 deadline, National Grid has now revealed its own targets to help the cause.

Based on direct (Scope 1), power-related (Scope 2) and indirect (Scope 3) emissions, National Grid is planning to employ a combination of investment, best working practices and encouraging a change of mindset in its customers and consumers. The targets have been approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Set against a 1990 baseline, National Grid believes it can reduce its Scope 1 & 2 emissions – recorded at 6.4m tonnes of CO2e in 2019/20 - by 80% as early as 2030, removing a further 10% by 2040.

As well as pledging some £5bn-worth of investment in energy infrastructure to help meet the target, the organisation is set to reduce business travel air miles and run a zero-carbon, fully-electric light vehicle fleet by 2030.  Its medium and heavy-goods fleet will also be replaced with alternative-powered solutions wherever possible.

More challenging is the Scope 3 target which requires influencing the habits of National Grid’s customers. Operating in the UK and US and with markets in Europe and elsewhere around the world, National Grid is aiming to reduce it indirect emissions by 20%, resulting in a per-year 5m tonne CO2e reduction from its current level of 30m tonnes. 

Although National Grid has already stated that the UK grid could be zero-carbon ready by 2025, CEO John Pettigrew described the newly-revealed targets as “ambitious” and recognised that a change in consumer (particularly corporate) mindset is needed to achieve significant emissions reductions from electric and gas energy.

He added: “Society’s expectations of business and the role business plays in the world are changing. We share the belief that business needs to stand for something more than profitability. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to demonstrate our contribution to society more broadly.”