Major plans to speed up connections and rapidly increase capacity on the electricity grid have been set out by the UK Government, alongside £960 million investment in green industries, to help strengthen the country’s energy security and reduce bills.
The measures will see advanced manufacturing capacity in key net zero sectors, including offshore wind, networks, carbon capture, usage and storage, hydrogen and nuclear.
Launched by the Chancellor and Energy Security Secretary, Government has published its response to Electricity Networks Commissioner, Nick Winser CBE, accepting his recommendations in all areas. The measures will reportedly halve the time it takes to build high-voltage power lines from 14 years to seven.
The key areas of focus are:
- New plans to halve power line construction time will speed up delivery of homegrown, renewable energy to homes and businesses.
- The package of measures will support economic growth and further cement the UK as one of the best countries in the world to invest in renewables, bringing forward investment by building network infrastructure faster and speeding up grid connections.
- Average grid connection delays cut from five years to six months, releasing up to 100GW of capacity – equivalent to around a quarter of the electricity needed to power our economy in 2050 – and maintaining the UK’s position as a world leader in low carbon energy.
- Properties closest to power infrastructure could benefit from up to £1,000 a year off electricity bills .
As demand for renewables continues to grow, with international competition across supply chains, the Government is making sure the UK has the right conditions for further investment and growth. As a result of the UK’s global leadership in clean technologies, including the flagship Contracts for Difference scheme and the £20 billion recently committed to develop carbon capture, usage and storage, the UK has attracted £200 billion since 2010. A further £100 billion is expected by 2030, supporting up to 480,000 skilled jobs across the country.
The new package announced at the Autumn Statement is expected to bring forward £90 billion of investment over the next 10 years and will ensure the country’s infrastructure is fit for the green industries of the future.
Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:
“We have set out the most radical plans to update the grid since the 1950s – speeding up connections and rapidly increasing capacity.
As we move away from unreliable imports to cheaper, home-grown energy, we’re boosting the grid so that it can meet our expanding electricity needs which are expected to have doubled by 2050.
This will drive down bills while bringing forward £90 billion of investment over the next decade. We’ll also reward those living closest to new infrastructure with up to £1000 a year off their energy bills, while communities will get at least £200,000 to spend on local projects that matter the most to them.”
National Grid Chief Executive John Pettigrew, said:
“Networks are critical to connect cleaner, more affordable, home-grown energy to Britain’s homes and businesses, and we welcome the bold plans set out by government today.
A spatial energy plan and accelerated planning consent will bring clarity, authority and urgency to what needs to be built and where, while new community benefit proposals will ensure local people remain at the heart of the energy transition.
The Connections Action Plan will deliver fundamental reforms needed to enable us to plug clean energy projects in faster, and build on the progress already being made.
The intent is clear and welcome; now these plans must be implemented at pace to capture the economic opportunity of the energy transition and keep Britain on target to achieve its climate goals.”
Read the full Autumn Statement here.