€1.1bn for UK electricity grid

€1.1bn for UK electricity grid

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The UK government is promising £960m (€1.1bn) to cut grid connection delays from 5 years to 6 months, releasing up to 100GW of capacity.

The measures follow the Winser reports into the UK electricity grid, and include halving the time it takes to build high-voltage power lines from 14 years to 7.  

The funding will also be used to accelerate advanced manufacturing capacity in offshore wind, networks, carbon capture, usage and storage, hydrogen and nuclear.  

“We urgently need to build the next generation of infrastructure that will see the UK economy grow and thrive. The measures announced today are precisely the kind of energy policies that will unlock a wave of additional domestic and international investment,” said Microsoft Vice President External Affairs Hugh Milward.

“We have set out the most radical plans to update the grid since the 1950s – speeding up connections and rapidly increasing capacity,” said the UK’s Energy Security Secretary. Claire Coutinho.

“As we move away from unreliable imports to cheaper, home-grown energy, we’re boosting the grid so that it can meet our expanding electricity needs which are expected to have doubled by 2050. This will drive down bills while bringing forward £90 billion of investment over the next decade. 

“The connections action plan will deliver fundamental reforms needed to enable us to plug clean energy projects in faster, and build on the progress already being made,” said National Grid Chief Executive John Pettigrew.

The Connections Action Plan, published jointly with Ofgem, will overhaul the way projects access the electricity grid, releasing over 100GW of capacity from the grid connections queue. This is equivalent to around a quarter of the electricity needed to power the UK economy in 2050. 

This will also move to a ‘first-ready, first-connected’ approach, removing speculative and slow-moving projects are removed from the queue and supporting viable projects to connect when they are ready. A a triage service will be established to speed up connections for strategically-important demand customers, such as new industrial developments.  

Reducing delays in network build and speeding up grid connections could bring forward investment by around £90 billion over the next 10 years says the UK government.

“This combined with the announcement of £960 million for a Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support clean energy manufacturing in the UK will help us to build up new supply chains in Britain at a time when international competition for investment in clean technology manufacturing has never been more intense,” said RenewableUK Chief Executive Dan McGrail.

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