20GW of green energy projects fast-tracked for grid connection

National Grid has said it is accelerating the connection of 20GW of clean energy projects onto the electricity network.

The new energy infrastructure will start with 19 battery projects amounting to around 10GW that will be given the option of connecting to the grid about four years earlier than they otherwise would have done.

A further 10GW will be unlocked in the Midlands, South West of England and South Wales, which includes a raft of low-carbon technology projects, bringing forward some ‘shovel ready’ schemes by up to five years.

National Grid said the accelerated 20GW of projects equates to the capacity of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations.

Developers looking to connect renewable energy projects have previously told E+T that they face delays of up to 15 years to connect to the electricity grid.

In June there were around 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 had received planning consent, and some moved their connection dates back by over 14 years.

National Grid said it had 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.

National Grid is also undertaking a review of projects in the connections pipeline in England and Wales to identify which can come forward based on new planning assumptions agreed with the ESO.

Traditionally, National Grid carries out network reinforcements before a project plugs in – sometimes adding years to a connection – based on the assumption that batteries could charge at peak times and export when generation is high, exacerbating system peaks and constraints.

It will now offer selected battery projects a transmission connection before network reinforcements are made, on the agreement that the ESO can adjust the battery’s behaviour in certain operating conditions to reduce system impact.

Alice Delahunty, president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’re committed to speeding up connections and creating a ‘fit for the future’ process for plugging projects into the grid.

“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.

“We’re really encouraged by the recognition these early joint steps by our industry are receiving. They’re paving the way for the more fundamental connections reform that we’re collectively working with government and the regulator to deliver to keep Britain on track for a secure, affordable and net zero energy system.”

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Original Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2023/11/20gw-of-green-energy-projects-fast-tracked-for-grid-connection/

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