LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K. power and natural gas network operator National Grid PLC's assets (NG.LN) can withstand predicted levels of climate change, although some assets require further assessment, the company said in two reports published Friday.
None of the risks considered are likely to threaten the system as a whole or lead to a loss of supply, the company said.
The U.K.'s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, or Defra, requested the reports from National Grid and other organizations including Network Rail and the Highways Agency as part of a plan to ensure that organizations with a crucial role in running the nation's infrastructure are making preparations to adapt to climate change.
The reports are the first in a series designed to set out the potential risks of climate change and suggest solutions.
"Business as usual is not an option, and planning now will prevent a lot of expense down the line when the projections of climate change become a reality," said Environment Minister Oliver Henley. "Businesses of all sizes need to assess how climate change could affect them."
According to National Grid's reports, 13 electricity substations are at risk of flooding from a "1 in a 100 year" flood and the company said it is preparing a scheme to provide additional defenses at these sites.
Regarding its gas networks, the company said climate change could impact some gas pipes, which could become exposed and leak due to subsidence, river erosion or coastal erosion.
National Grid said it is using drilling techniques when placing pipes under rivers to reduce the risk of erosion and old metallic pipes are being replaced with polyethylene pipes which are less brittle.
The company added that it is at an advanced stage of putting climate change policy at the heart of the company's strategy. Climate change risks are also firmly embedded into National Grid's risk management procedure which is constantly reviewed and updated with appropriate actions and targets.
Over the next 12 months, Defra will publish further reports from sectors including electricity generation, distribution and transmission, water utilities and major airports.
In January next year, Defra will publish a final report setting out the overall findings and benefits from the first round of reporting and a summary of each sector.
The final report will inform the climate change risk assessment, which aims to understand the level of risk posed by climate change for the U.K., compare those risks to other pressures on the government and prioritize adaptation policy options.
This will be the first assessment in a series that will be updated every five years.
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