UK’s National Grid to speed up connection of 20 GW of clean energy projects

(Reuters) -National Grid said on Monday it was speeding up the connection of up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects to its electricity transmission and distribution networks in England and Wales.

The company, which runs Britain’s energy systems, said 19 battery energy storage projects worth around 10 GW on its transmission network would be offered dates to plug in, averaging four years earlier than current agreements.

A further tranche of clean energy projects – primarily batteries and hybrids (batteries co-located with wind or solar projects) – will be offered accelerated transmission connections as part of another phase anticipated in the new year, which could bring forward another 10 GW, it said in a statement.

Britain has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which will require a huge scale-up of renewable power generation.

The new policy is part of National Grid’s connections reform initiative targeting transmission capacity, spearheaded by National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO).

The 20 GW equates to the capacity of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations and follows months of work and engagement with industry, the statement said, referring to a major nuclear project being built in southwest England.

“Bringing these battery projects forward is one of a range of actions that our electricity transmission business is delivering alongside the system operator and wider industry to unlock clean energy capacity in England and Wales,” said Alice Delahunty, president of National Grid Electricity Transmission.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and Marwa Rashad in London; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Mark Potter)