The Informer

This week's energy headlines: Energy projects could get grid connections ten years faster under new plans; Proposals for an interconnector between Northern Ireland and Scotland are unveiled; New renewable capacity could grow by a third this year; Our industry round-up includes the latest updates from Government departments and energy regulators.

  • ESO to step up grid connection reforms

    Further reforms are to be introduced in a bid to significantly speed up connections to the grid. Under the plans announced by National Grid ESO, energy generators not progressing their project they will have to either move backwards in the queue or leave, making space for other projects ready to progress and connect. The system operator said the reform could see projects able to connect up to ten years earlier. In a further development, the ESO has set out its support to enable developers to build their own connections into the grid. The announcements build on the existing five-point plan to speed up connections. There are approximately 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling circa 40GW – equating to more than double peak demand in the summer months for all of Great Britain. However only half of these have got planning consent at this stage and some have moved their connection dates back by over fourteen years. Barnaby Wharton, RenewableUK’s Director of Future Electricity Systems, welcomed the plans. “Grid connection delays are holding back £15 billion of investment in offshore wind alone over the course of this decade, at the very time when we need to boost our energy security as quickly as possible and provide cheap power for consumers to tackle the cost of living crisis,” he said. Read more

  • NI-Scotland power link plans unveiled

    Plans for a new electricity interconnector between Northern Ireland and Scotland have been unveiled. Independent transmission firm Transmission Investment has submitted a licence application in Northern Ireland for the £700m proposed project which could be operational by the end of the decade. It said the subsea project would be privately financed and will reduce the likelihood of electricity outages by facilitating greater access to other electricity markets. Keith Morrison, Project Director, Transmission Investment said: “The application for a Transmission Licence is an early milestone in a long process, but it‘s significant in that it moves us one stage closer towards delivering this very exciting project. “Over its lifetime, this project will bring real benefits to Northern Ireland, and Great Britain,” he said. Read more

  • New renewable capacity to grow by a third this year

    Global additions of renewable power capacity are expected to jump by a third this year, according to new data. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said growing policy momentum, higher fossil fuel prices and energy security concerns were behind particularly strong deployment of solar PV and wind power. The growth is set to continue next year with the world’s total renewable electricity capacity rising to 4,500 gigawatts (GW), equal to the total power output of China and the United States combined. Global renewable capacity additions are set to soar by 107GW, the largest absolute increase ever, to more than 440GW in 2023. “Solar and wind are leading the rapid expansion of the new global energy economy. This year, the world is set to add a record-breaking amount of renewables to electricity systems – more than the total power capacity of Germany and Spain combined,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. Read more

  • Ofgem looks for bidders for £7bn offshore assets

    Regulator Ofgem has put out a call to prospective investors looking to bid for £7 billion worth of offshore transmission assets. Around ten Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) assets, comprising prebuilt transmission connections for offshore wind farms, will be going under the hammer in two bidding rounds in 2024 and 2025. Ofgem said the OFTO regime has operated successfully for 11 years, having so far brought investment in for 24 assets, with several more currently going through the process. It said the next two years will see a surge in OFTOs coming to market, reflecting the UK Government’s target of increasing offshore wind generation capacity fivefold to 50GW by 2030. Akshay Kaul, Ofgem Interim Director, Infrastructure and Security of Supply Group, said: “Britain already has the highest offshore wind deployment in Europe, and the second highest in the world. With the Government’s target of 50GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 there is still huge potential for investors to get in early and be part of an industry that’s set for huge worldwide growth.” Read more

  • Grid seeks partners for £4.5bn upgrade work

    National Grid is looking for partners to help deliver £4.5 billion of network infrastructure construction as part of its major upgrade plans. The initial launch of the call for key supply chain partners is for onshore projects within the Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework for work to be carried out by 2030. The work is part of the ‘The Great Grid Upgrade’, which National Grid says will be the largest overhaul of the grid in generations to the UK meet its net zero ambitions, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to lower energy bills. Two design and consenting service partners and four to six construction partners are sought to join National Grid in the partnership and deliver the infrastructure required, such as new overhead lines and substations. Matt Staley, Director of Onshore Delivery at National Grid, said: “By taking a partnership approach, we aim to deliver integrated planning and working between projects, enabling the supply chain to accelerate delivery and deliver cost efficiencies – in turn delivering value for money for consumers and working with local communities to leave a positive legacy.” Read more

  • Regulatory news and consultations round-up

    Ofgem has published its decision on guidance for the criteria for the Third Party Intermediary Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme.

    The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) levelisation report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2023 has been published.

    Ofgem has published a consultation on Future System Operator supply and demand modelling. It closes on 23 June.

    The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has extended the deadline for responses to a consultation on a recommended approach to community benefits for electricity transmission network infrastructure. The deadline is now 15 June.

    The deadline for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s consultation on the revised energy National Policy Statements that support decisions on major energy infrastructure has been extended to 23 June.