Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

Next steps for grid infrastructure in the UK

government, regulator & industry plans | roles & responsibilities | priorities & accelerating progress | planning | capacity, integration & futureproofing | managing impact | net zero goals

Morning, Wednesday, 18th September 2024


This conference will focus on plans for developing the UK’s electricity network and key issues for delivery.

It follows publication of both the Government’s Electricity networks: Transmission Acceleration Action Plan and Connections Action Plan in November 2023, setting out proposals for network reform and improvements in response to recommendations from the Electricity Networks Commissioner Nick Winser, who is a keynote speaker at this conference.

With grid infrastructure being highlighted as a focus in general election campaigning, the conference will be a timely opportunity for delegates to discuss priorities for policy in the new parliament.

It is bringing together stakeholders and policymakers to examine key issues and progress so far on action plans. Areas for discussion include the way forward if ambitions are to be achieved for minimising investment risk, speeding up the end-to-end build time of electricity transmission network infrastructure, and potential impact on local communities, as well as key environmental concerns.

Sessions include discussion on the scale and pace of connections reform, and latest thinking on futureproofing the grid for new technology and renewable energy integration, with the capacity and resilience to serve demand alongside meeting decarbonisation targets.

Delegates will look at key issues for implementing planning reform, provision of sufficient operation and storage solutions, and what moving from a ‘connect and build’ to a ‘build and manage’ approach looks like in practice.

We are pleased to be able to include a further keynote session with: Alice Etheridge, Head, Strategic Spatial Energy Planning, National Grid ESO.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • strategy: assessing action plans - costs, finance and investor confidence - alternative approaches to policy and implementation 
  • development: progress on government, regulator and industry plans - priorities for the National Energy System Operator, the Strategic Spatial Energy Plan and Centralised Strategic Network Plan
  • reform: assessing optimal and practical pace of change - regional connectivity - reforming the planning system to accelerate infrastructure implementation - consumer costs and value for money 
  • decarbonisation: planning, policy and stakeholder priorities for net zero pathways - addressing challenges for integration of renewables and alternative energy sources
  • impact: taking due account of local community concerns - mitigating environmental impact - implications for investment and grid infrastructure rollout

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from Defra; DESNZ; DSIT; DLUHC; DfT; DBT; GLD; GO-Science; Ofwat; Planning Inspectorate; UKIB; Department for the Economy, NI; GBN; HM Treasury; MOD; NAO; Office for Investment; POST; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.

The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Parliamentarians, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.

Keynote Speaker

Alice Etheridge

Head, Strategic Spatial Energy Planning, National Grid ESO

Keynote Speakers

Nick Winser

Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission

Alice Etheridge

Head, Strategic Spatial Energy Planning, National Grid ESO


Baroness Blake of Leeds


Jack Presley Abbott

Deputy Director, Strategic Planning and Connections, Ofgem

Iain Smith

New Business and Strategy Director, Power Transmission and Distribution, Balfour Beatty

Frances Fernandes

Managing Director, Infrastructure Matters

Andy Manning

Head, Energy System Transformation, Citizens Advice

James Ringrow

Director, Strategy, Smart DCC

George Anstey

Senior Managing Director, NERA Economic Consulting

Jim Cardwell

Head, Distribution System Operation Policy, Northern Powergrid