The challenge

National Grid is a global energy company; the largest electricity distribution network in the UK and a major, direct-to-consumer supplier in the US. Its subsidiary companies, National Grid Ventures and National Grid Partners, operate internationally to help accelerate the transition to green energy through investment in innovation.

As the world grapples with the pressing need to curb emissions and adapt to a shifting climate, businesses, like National Grid, find themselves facing often nebulous and unquantifiable risk. Many companies have entered the race to net zero, as part of global efforts to tackle climate change, but research indicates that those goals are rarely supported by credible infrastructure and data.

“The change that’s happening in the market at the moment is that the understanding of climate risk was vague and very qualitative even a year or two ago,” explains Risilience’s Vice President of Client Solutions Tom Sabbatelli-Goodyer. “Having a starting point to understand what the dollar amount of that risk is, and moving toward a more rigorous way of being able to understand balance-sheet impact, I think is really transformational for a company.” 

National Grid’s climate targets are ambitious. The company recently published its $42 billion UK investment strategy, with the aim of reaching net zero by 2050. In partnering with Risilience’s unique technology, National Grid is taking concrete steps towards its vision for a greener, more sustainable future.

The approach

UK-based National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has made considerable investments in the high-voltage electricity transmission network to help connect more renewable and low-carbon electricity, transporting it through the infrastructure of power lines and substations to reach local networks. NGET plays a crucial role in turning the UK’s net-zero ambitions into a reality – so it seemed like a logical starting point for a partnership between National Grid and Risilience.

Making companies more comfortable with the uncertainty in their climate transition is a part of Risilience’s mission. “You have to embrace some level of ambiguity,”  Sabbatelli-Goodyer said.  “A lot of companies just need to start somewhere because it helps to take that first step. When you’re seeing the results of analysis, you then realise where the gaps are – or it exposes gaps that you didn’t know were there before.”

Risilience is all about helping companies bridge the data gap that’s blocking them from taking the plunge into climate transition. Before pairing with Risilience, NGET lacked a solution for streamlining the data it procured for both its business and climate strategies.

Liam Goucher, Climate Transition Manager at National Grid explained: “We had sustainability and environmental experts working on the strategy around decarbonisation, and we had finance professionals working on future OpEx and CapEx, and the opportunities from those initiatives. But we had not fully linked the two before, certainly not in a consistent way.

“With Risilience as a partner, we saw the opportunity not only to model the CapEx and OpEx cost of climate initiatives, but also factor those insights into future performance against a range of different emission scenarios, which started to make us think about how we could use and replicate this approach across different parts of the business.”