National Grid is to accelerate up to 20GW of grid connections across its transmission and distribution networks.
Like many transmission organizations, the UK’s National Grid had a slow, complex and cumbersome process for adding new capacity to the grid. Now a new system will speed up the deployment of clean technology like battery storage. The National Grid is accelerating the connection of up to 20GW of clean energy projects to its electricity transmission and distribution networks in England and Wales.
The new policy is part of National Grid’s connections reform initiative targeting transmission capacity, 19 battery energy storage projects with around 10GW in total will be offered dates to plug in averaging four years earlier than their current agreement, based on a new approach which removes the need for non-essential engineering works prior to connecting storage.
National Grid has already been in contact with more than 200 projects interested in fast tracking their distribution connection dates in the first wave of the capacity release, with 16 expressing an interest in connecting in the next 12 months and another 180 looking to connect within two to five years.
The accelerated 20GW equates to the capacity of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations (one is currently being built) and follows months of work and engagement with industry, Ofgem (the industry regulator) and government to find innovative solutions that will make plugging in clean energy projects faster and more flexible.
If this experiment is successful, National Grid will look at accelerating the network access of hybrid projects: that is, wind or solar plus battery storage, which will unlock another 10GW of capacity to be deployed more quickly.
Alice Delahunty, President of National Grid Electricity Transmission, says, “Bringing these battery projects forward is one of a range of actions that our electricity transmission business is delivering alongside the system operator and wider industry to unlock clean energy capacity in England and Wales.”