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 work will see 19 battery energy storage projects worth around 10GW be offered dates to plug in averaging four years earlier than their current agreement.
The policy is part of the Grid’s connections reform initiative targeting transmission capacity, spearheaded by the ESO and actioned jointly with National Grid Electricity Transmission (ET).
National Grid has contacted 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.
Plans to speed up connections include collaborative action between Britain’s transmission and distribution networks – part of the Energy Networks Association (ENA)’s three-step plan for connections – to manage their technical interface more effectively to unlock gigawatts of capacity.
The new approach to transmission storage connections – a flagship policy in the ESO’s five-point plan to speed up connections – comes as National Grid ET undertakes an extensive review of projects in the connections pipeline.
A further tranche of clean energy projects – primarily batteries and hybrids – will be offered accelerated transmission connections as part of another phase anticipated in the new year, which could bring forward another 10GW.
Cordi O’Hara, President of National Grid Electricity Distribution, who is due to speak at the Transport + Energy Forum, said: “We’re delighted that so many customers have already expressed an interest in taking advantage of this additional capacity to accelerate the connection dates for their low carbon technologies.
“But we’re not stopping there. Our second expression of interest will extend the offer to even more customers who will be able to benefit from our more agile approach to connections, enabling the UK to install the renewable generation needed to decarbonise the electricity system by 2035.”
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.”