Electricity network companies are set to invest millions into network capacity to support shovel-ready projects across Britain over the next two years, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has reported.
Working closely with regulator Ofgem, the ENA members have drawn up plans to unlock early investment in the grid to support the technologies of tomorrow to be delivered quickly, driving green jobs and green growth across Great Britain.
The ENA is now launching a six-week call for local authorities, developers and other parties to state the case as to why extra capacity in their locality should be selected for investment. The association said there was a “particular interest” in evidence about locations where network investment can be made quickly to support shovel-ready developments that underpin the transition to a net-zero carbon emissions economy.
The £300m funding will be in part sourced from network companies’ existing allowances, where they have delivered efficiencies from the RIIO-ED1 price control period. These existing funds as well as newly raised funds will be reallocated to help fast-track network capacity investment in places where it will support green developments. This investment will be directed to the most efficient projects, for example flexibility, whole-systems solutions and ‘least-regrets’ expenditure.
Evidence will be gathered throughout the six-week call period on:
- Utilisation – how much of the capacity might be used in the near term
- Deliverability – how quickly infrastructure could be completed
- Value for money – including wider societal benefits
Innovation will be at the forefront of this investment round with capacity unlocked to support technologies like battery storage, renewables, heat pumps and the electrification of transport through the installation of electric vehicle hubs in towns and rapid-charging at motorway service stations.
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP said: “Unlocking investment in the grid is vital to speed up the development of clean, green technologies that cut emissions and create thousands of jobs as we build back greener.”
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “With the clock ticking on the UK’s race to hit net zero carbon emissions, we cannot afford to delay in building a clean energy infrastructure that will help power our transport and heat our homes emissions-free.
“We’re urging electricity network companies to come forward with fresh new sites for green investment, starting work quickly, to help kick start the green recovery.”
David Smith, chief executive at ENA, said: “Our energy network operators have already helped turn Britain into a superpower of renewable energy. With this backing from Ofgem and the Government, we can ramp-up the network investment to support not only renewables, but battery storage, electric vehicles, heat-pumps and all of the other technologies we will need to achieve our net zero future.”