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UK’s Electricity system operator announce plans to speed up connections to the electricity grid

Following the revelation that some renewable energy projects are facing waits of up to 15 years to be connected to the grid, barely a week goes by without a new initiative being announced to reduce these delays.

The latest news has been announced by the UK’s Electricity system operator in a press release titled ‘Get on, get back or get out of the energy queue’.

In a move which they hope will reduce the current level of queues by ten years, the ESO have written to those parties involved in projects which will require grid connection, asking for updates on the projects and ‘project milestones’ so future progress can be monitored.

Projects that are not progressing as quickly as expected will either be able to choose to move backwards or leave the queue, in order to make way for projects that want to connect and are on time. The ESO say these reforms will mean that projects will be able to connect up to ten years earlier.

The milestones that projects will have to meet are points such as raising finance for the project, buying land, getting planning permission and breaking ground. Projects delayed by events outside their control will not be negatively affected by these changes.

Putting the current situation into context, the ESO point out that there are approximately 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling around 40GW but only half of these have got planning consent at this stage and some have moved their connection dates back by over 14 years.

It was also announced that the connection of battery storage projects, which make up 34% of the current projects in the queue, would be accelerated and that the ESO are looking at ways to enable developers to build their own connections into the grid beyond the current 2km limit.

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