National Grid ESO has today (2 June) introduced additional targeted reforms to speed up connections to the electricity grid.
The newly introduced measures, which builds upon its previously released five-point plan, will see energy generators that are 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.
To evaluate the progress of some of these projects, ESO has partnered with an engineering consultancy to determine if required milestones have been met for energy generators. A legal firm has also been retained to ensure any contractual changes are rapidly executed.
If these measures are successfully integrated into the grid connection process, ESO anticipates this could speed up connections by up to ten years.
The ESO said this will speed up connections for 95GW of energy storage projects in the pipeline, and that they will also be reviewing contracts to make sure parties looking to connect to the grid in the next two to three years are on track to meet their connection dates.
The five-point plan is allowing companies to leave the grid connection queue without incurring penalties. The ESO said there were 8GW of interest in this, and it is now working to approve these contract terminations.
The newly released information today is an extension of this and, as outlined in its five-point plan, is expected to allow projects that have not matched the required milestones to leave the queue for free.
Alongside this, the ESO has also set out its support for changes to enable developers to build their own connections into the grid. The organisation stated that it is examining code modifications and the ways that these changes can be delivered as soon as possible. To achieve this, the ESO is working with Ofgem to rapidly implement these modifications.
ESO also highlighted the scale of the challenge at hand in regard to grid connection delays. It stated that currently, there are “approximately 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling circa 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 fourteen years”.
“These are positive new steps which bolster recent measures introduced by the electricity system operator (ESO), transmission owners and DNOs to help customers and speed up connections. It shows how joined up we are working across the sector in delivering much needed reform to meet Britain’s bold climate goals,” said Roisin Quinn, director of customer connections at National Grid.
“We continue to collaborate with ESO, industry, government and the regulator to deliver actions and reforms to allow us to make earlier decisions on longer term planning and network investment, supporting faster progress towards a clean and affordable energy system.
“We also support giving projects more choice in the delivery of infrastructure relating to their connection, and will work with industry to ensure any changes represent value to the consumer and recognise the need to closely coordinate network planning and investment for net zero.”
Grid connections had been explored as part of the Current± Explores: The Grid Connection Conundrum mini-series. This included input from National Grid ESO, Ofgem, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and more. Click here to read the first article.