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National Grid identifies 10GW of distribution capacity for Customers with ‘shovel ready’ projects

We have announced plans to release 10GW of grid capacity primed for the connection of renewable energy assets including solar farms, onshore wind, and battery storage projects.

The identification and release of this additional capacity follows months of work and engagement with stakeholders, including National Grid ESO, Ofgem and the UK Government, to find innovative solutions to speed up the connection of low carbon technologies.

Through a new agreement with the ESO, projects that require additional transmission network reinforcement will be offered the chance to connect now under an interim, non-firm connection arrangement. In return for an earlier connection, the interim arrangements would mean some projects could be curtailed when there is too much generation on the system, such as on some of the windiest and sunniest summer days. Longer term however, these interim arrangements will be replaced with firm connections as network capacity increases.

In addition to these new arrangements, from October we will be replacing the current “first come, first served” connection model with a more dynamic “first ready, first connected” approach. This updated approach will accelerate the connection of shovel ready projects to allow more low carbon projects to connect faster; rapidly boosting UK progress towards Net Zero without disadvantaging those that are still progressing but need more time to connect.

Commenting on the announcement, Cordi O’Hara, President of National Grid Electricity Distribution said: “Making it quicker and easier for our customers to connect to the network is a priority for us. With the volume of new connection applications soaring as the UK moves at pace to deliver Net Zero, we know a ‘fit for the future’ connections process will be vital to meet current and future demand.

“The changes we’ve made will not just allow some customers to accelerate their connections dates but will allow a more agile approach to managing connections requests. Reforms like these are a pivotal part of the country’s ability to install the renewable generation it needs to to decarbonise the electricity system by 2035.”

We will be contacting customers and asking them to express an interest in accelerating their connection through the new arrangements. We will also be holding a series of webinars and engagement events throughout September and October.