Achieving net zero means our electricity network must be able to connect gigawatts of new renewable generation and power millions of electric vehicles and heat pumps across the country.
In recent months there has been intense focus on the grid, as policymakers have recognised that our energy networks are critical infrastructure for the UK’s energy goals. Most acutely, lead times to connect critical new low carbon generation projects are now over 15 years.
A net zero ready grid is achievable. We have already connected many gigawatts of wind farms, solar farms and batteries. The key grid players have all set out plans and initiatives to work smarter and increase capacity. The priority now is moving from action plans to delivering reform and investment at pace.
Significant investment is needed. This will enable the grid to move away from expensive fossil generation onto low-marginal cost renewables and enable electrification of heat and transport. In the long term, network costs per unit of energy delivered could fall.
This report sets out:
- the scale of the challenge to upgrade our networks
- the initiatives underway
- the key priorities to ensure network infrastructure is not a barrier to net zero
In this report Regen is calling for:
Low voltage: Connecting millions of electric vehicles and heat pumps
- Networks must strategically invest ahead of increasing demand
- Ofgem must provide strategic leadership to enable net zero
- Government should commit to electrifying heat
High voltage: Connecting gigawatts of onshore renewables and storage
- Deliver on investment ahead of need
- Reform the connections process
- Reform approach to the interaction between transmission and distribution networks
Transmission: Connecting offshore and centralised generation
- The Future System Operator needs a clear timeline and remit
- Ensure the supply chain has sufficient capacity to deliver projects
- Speed up the planning and consenting process