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National Grid ESO's NOA recommends £203m in transmission reinforcement

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

National Grid ESO is recommending a £203 million investment into reinforcing the transmission networks in 2020/21.

In its annual network options assessment (NOA), the ESO describes major projects its considering to meet the future needs of GB’s electricity transmission system. It recommends to transmission owners which investments in the year ahead best meet the future network requirements, as defined in the Electricity Ten Year Statement.

There were 147 options assessed, with 42 recommended to proceed. The total cost of these comes in at £11.1 billion, although this includes costs for E2DC and not E2D2.

Within those, three are ESO-led commercial solutions, with the others falling into six categories: 39 in the development of new circuits, 29 control power flow, 10 in building a new substation or reconfiguring an existing substation, 34 in upgrading existing circuits, 27 voltage and stability constraints and 4 alternative options.

In 2020/21, the ESO is recommending an investment of £203 million. This is a rise in cost from 2018/19, which the ESO is attributing to three main factors. Firstly, the Future Energy Scenarios 2019 identifying further increase in offshore wind in the north and East Anglia.

Secondly, it expects more reinforcements will be given ‘proceed’ recommendations as the NOA develops. Lastly, the transmission operators have provided “many new options” to replace long-term conceptual options implemented last year, with a number moving into ‘proceed’.

The NOA also pointed to a sensitivity test conducted this year by the ESO on its analysis to identify the impact of Contracts for Difference (CfD) in reducing constraints. There is limited historical evidence of how windfarms with CfDs might bid into the Balancing Mechanism, it said, and it is therefore working with academics on how bidding strategies might change.

However, preliminary modelling suggests no change in the NOA 2019/20 recommendations, it said.

“The NOA represents a balance between asset investment and network management to achieve the best use of consumer’s money,” Julian Leslie, head of networks at National Grid ESO, wrote in the foreword.

“The future energy landscape is uncertain and the ESO’s recommendations make sure the GB transmission network is fit for the future.”

The NOA can be read in full here.

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