Faster grid connects to free up 100GW of ‘stuck’ green energy

Plus £20bn investment in transmission unlocked

The UK government’s Autumn Statement appears to be very good news for the electricity industry’s journey to reach net zero carbon by 2050.

The joint Ofgem/government Connections Action Plan (CAP) promises the release of 100GW of green energy projects which are stuck in a queue. Average connection timelines will be slashed from five years to six months, it says.

Among the ways it will achieve this are to axe or de-prioritise projects that don’t look immediately viable or are too small, moving the best ready-to-go projects to the top of the list and better matching projects that are oven ready with existing network capability. It also claims it will build long-term connection demand into strategic planning and market reform.

Ofgem has also welcomed the government’s Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework, which promises to halve the time taken to build new transmission infrastructure from the current 12-14 years. Plus there are some attractive provisions for tax relief on capital investments in plant and machinery. Together, these will unlock £20 billion of investment, it says.

Two cheers for the government. But before we add a third hooray, we might reflect on the concerns raised by Peter Chalkley, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, as quoted by Energy Live.

Mr Chalkley suggested that the government might need to take more substantial action to reassure investors in the coming months, noting that “things over the last few months have looked, to say the least, a little confused.”

Investors need to be able to trust cast iron, long term strategic plans, before they decide where and when to put their money. Just ask the motor and battery manufacturers, whose multi-£billion plans for the transition to electric vehicles in 2030 were knocked back five years, by a policy reversal that arrived with zero warning.