ESO publishes Beyond 2030 investment plan

The Electricity System Operator (ESO) has published today (19 March) a report called “Beyond 2030”, which proposes a £58bn investment in the electricity grid to meet the growing and decarbonising demand for electricity in Great Britain by 2035.

The investment will allow Britain to exploit the economic potential as a leader in offshore wind by moving the power to where it is needed. Plan connects further 21GW of offshore wind in development off the coast of Scotland to the grid in an efficient and coordinated way.

This would mean that there would be 86 GW of offshore wind, making Britain a global leader in offshore wind and floating offshore windfarms.

ESO’s plan sets out how to ensure a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035, in line with the government’s Sixth Carbon Budget. The plan could also create and sustain over 20,000 jobs annually, with 90% of the benefits occurring outside London and the Southeast, according to independent research.

It stresses the need for swift and coordinated action across the energy sector, government, the regulator, and communities to deliver the network infrastructure in time to meet 2035. 

In addition, it recommends an expansion of the offshore grid and a new North to South electrical spine with offshore windfarms in development off the coast of Scotland transporting energy from Peterhead to Merseyside. ESO is also recommending further offshore bootstraps along the East coast of Britain.

Fintan Slye, Executive Director of ESO said: “ESO’s Beyond 2030 network design outlines recommendations on the investment needed and how and where to coordinate the build of this new critical national infrastructure.

“To deliver the clean, secure, decarbonised system set out by Government and Devolved Governments we must take swift, coordinated and lasting action working collaboratively across all parts of the energy sector, government, the regulator and within our communities.”

Commenting on the news, a National Grid spokesperson said: “National Grid is already investing billions delivering the largest overhaul of grid in generations, The Great Grid Upgrade, to enable us to transport more homegrown clean energy to power homes and businesses across the UK as well as, in the longer term, reduce energy bills.

“We now look forward to working with the System Operator, Government and Ofgem on the further development needed to progress these reinforcements, and to move towards creating a Strategic Spatial Energy Plan, coupled with a consentable Centralised Strategic Network Plan, which sets out what energy infrastructure needs to be built, where and when, to deliver a capacity-rich, future-ready network that will serve society and underpin economic growth.”

Image from Shutterstock

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