Close to 200GW of electricity projects are waiting to be connected to the grid – enough to power 150 million homes.
That’s according to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, claiming that the grid is not ready for the demand needed for renewable projects on the cards.
Many renewable developers echo these thoughts, with David Kipling, Chief Executive at On-Site Energy, stating: “The grid just isn’t ready for it. You could argue that it’s negligence. [The government has] been speaking about climate action for over a decade now, so you would have to assume that they knew what would be required.”
The issue stems from the fact that previously National Grid only needed to connect sparse power plants – but now many smaller, green energy projects are built, adding more consistent demand.
The study alleges that certain wind and solar projects, as a well as a car factory are all ready to provide clean energy and solutions to the UK – but are being left in limbo for as much as 15 years.
Similar to Mr Kipling, Harald Överholm is the Chief Executive at solar company Alight – and had planned to build a 70MW solar farm in the UK, following this with smaller projects.
However, he has now said the company will not pursue the project, knowing it is unlikely to be connected to the grid.
“We’re observing what’s going on. For now, it’s hopeless. If the government had a consistent well-thought-through vision, this would have been absolutely obvious. It’s sad when national governments lack that vision,” he stated.
By 2035, the UK’s demand for electricity is expected to climb by 50% – but the delays suggest that there could be large delays to achieving this target.
The Energy Networks Association represents the UK’s grid operators and said: “There’s a real sense of urgency to this challenge. The industry has received 164GW of new connection requests in the year to October 2022 alone. That’s around three times the capacity of our grid today.”
Bloomberg claims in its research that currently a “first come, first served” model is in operation, which is making investment in new green projects too risky for certain developers like Alight.
National Grid stated: “Significant reform is needed across policy, regulation and the energy industry to speed up the connections process across all networks. Collaboration between Ofgem, government and the industry is critical to drive the necessary reform at the pace needed to deliver net zero.”
The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has stated that it will take action on this subject this summer and that it recognises “the challenge of connection delays” and wants to go “further and faster.”