In order to meet the government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050, National Grid is developing proposals to upgrade the electricity transmission network in East Anglia.

This includes a new overhead electricity line between Norwich (Norfolk) and Tilbury (Essex), which is a key part of The Great Grid Upgrade – National Grid’s wider investment programme to upgrade the existing network which was built in the 1960s.

Reinforcing the existing network in East Anglia will ensure power generated by wind farms off the east coast can reach millions of homes and businesses, allowing them to benefit from cleaner, more secure and more affordable energy.

As part of its proposed work, National Grid wants to support local communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, building on benefits it is already offering across the region.

“We know that our responsibility as a business goes beyond safely building new energy infrastructure to enable a cleaner, fairer and more affordable future. We want to leave a lasting positive impact in the areas where we build our projects” explained Emma Bennett, community benefits manager for National Grid.

“We already do this in a number of ways. Our Community Grant Programme supports local projects which deliver social, economic and environmental benefits. We are also committed to increasing biodiversity net gain by a minimum of 10pc, meaning we seek to leave the natural environment in a better state than before any construction was there.

“Earlier this year the government proposed to introduce guidance setting out how communities should benefit from hosting the new energy infrastructure that is needed to meet the country’s net zero ambitions. We support this and believe it should enable developers to work together with communities to deliver benefit packages that work for them.

“In the meantime, we’re already beginning to work closely with local communities in the region.”

Keeping people in need warm

Last year National Grid launched an energy support fund to help organisations working on the front line of energy.

As part of this funding, its delivery partner Affordable Warmth Solutions has been providing free home insulation and other energy efficiency measures to households across England and Wales which don’t qualify for government programmes.

Around 130 homes have already benefitted from the Connected for Warmth Insulation programme across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Helping to improve energy affordability

Although National Grid doesn’t buy or sell power, it moves it around the high voltage electricity network from where it is generated to where it is needed.

Through its Energy Support Fund, it has been able to fund Citizens Advice to extend its services to provide more than 300 households with energy efficiency advice in just three months.

“Citizens Advice and National Grid started a strategic partnership in 2022, and the support has been crucial as we continue to respond to the cost-of-living crisis,” said Daniel Gill, corporate partnerships manager for Citizens Advice.

“We are really proud of the impact this is having through our Citizens Advice network, and the work with East Anglia is a fantastic example of the partnership’s impact on a local level.”

Braintree and Witham Times: Emma Bennett, community benefits manager for National GridEmma Bennett, community benefits manager for National Grid (Image: National Grid)

Partnering with the University of East Anglia


National Grid strives to inspire the next generation to be part of the future net zero workforce and wants to build regional partnerships to deliver this.

It recently supported students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) by conducting mock interviews to support employability and opening their eyes to local career opportunities.

It also mentored a student research project, exploring the challenges of space weather on electricity networks, and mentored young people in East Anglia in the annual ‘Engineering Unlocked’ summer school.

Training and opportunities for young people

National Grid has run training and masterclasses, reaching more than 300 students from four schools across East Anglia so far this year.

In collaboration with its Grid for Good Charity Partner, Generating Genius, it invited university students from across the UK to participate in an engineering challenge with a chance to win one of three work experience placements at National Grid.

More than 30 students were selected to present their recommendations to the judges, including students from the University of Essex and UEA.

The final winner and runners up will join National Grid and Generating Genius at an awards ceremony in the coming weeks and will join work placements with National Grid next summer.


Partnership with Beryl in Norwich

National Grid has partnered with sustainable transport operator Beryl, which runs a bike, e-bike and e-scooter share scheme in Norwich alongside Norfolk County Council.

Launched in March 2020, the scheme aims to encourage more people to swap four wheels for two and travel sustainably around Norwich. The partnership means National Grid can help reduce traffic congestion and improve physical and mental health by getting people more active.

It also means it can contribute towards improving regional air quality, with the scheme saving 160 tonnes of carbon dioxide since its introduction, which is the equivalent of over 55,000 litres of petrol. 

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Braintree and Witham Times:
This article is part of LOCALiQ's Clean & Green campaign, which aims to promote our region as the biggest in the UK and Europe for all forms of renewable energy.