National Grid ESO has introduced reforms designed to speed up the connection of energy generators to the electricity grid.
Developers looking to connect renewable energy projects have previously told us that they face delays of up to 15 years to connect to the electricity grid.
To check whether milestones are met, the ESO (electricity system operator) will be supported by an engineering consultancy, and a legal firm has been retained to ensure contractual changes are rapidly executed.
The milestones that projects will have to meet are “common sense points” such as raising finance for the project, buying land, getting planning permission and breaking ground.
Projects with timelines impacted by network build delays outside the control of the developers will not be negatively impacted by these changes.
There are approximately 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling around 40GW – this equates 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 14 years.
Barnaby Wharton, director of future electricity systems for RenewableUK, said: “This announcement is a significant step forward, as it will unlock new clean energy capacity faster by letting projects which are ready to connect to the grid move ahead of projects that simply aren’t making progress.
“Rather than allowing speculative bids for grid connections to pile up and create the backlog, these reforms mean that inactive or unready schemes will no longer be allowed to block projects which are ready to go live.
“It’s one of a number of measures which we’ve been calling for as a matter of urgency, to enable us to connect vital clean energy projects to the grid faster, as some offshore wind farms are currently having to wait for more than ten years to do so.
“Grid connection delays are holding back £15bn 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.”
Wharton also called on the government to give regulator Ofgem a new remit to oversee efforts to move the UK towards its net-zero goal.