The UK’s National Grid is speeding up the connection of up to 20GW of clean energy projects to its electricity transmission and distribution networks across England and Wales.

The new policy is part of the electricity system operator’s (ESO) connections reform initiative to increase transmission capacity.

It is being implemented by the National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), which designs and builds transmission infrastructure to connect with the projects.

The operator stated that 19 battery energy storage projects totalling 10GW will be expedited for its transmission network.

The projects will be offered connections four years ahead of their existing agreements, using a new approach that eliminates the need for non-essential engineering works before connections are made.

A further 10GW of unlocked capacity in the Midlands, South West of England and South Wales distribution networks will see grid connection dates of some low-carbon projects fast-tracked by up to five years.

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By GlobalData

The ESO is in contact with more than 200 projects that are interested in accelerating their distribution connection dates.

Of these, 16 projects are interested in connecting within the 12 months to November 2024 while 180 intend to connect within two to five years.

The plan to speed up 20GW of capacity comes after months of engagement with the industry, regulator Ofgem and the UK Government to find solutions that hasten clean energy connections.

NGET president Alice Delahunty stated: “We are committed to speeding up connections and creating a ‘fit for the future’ process for plugging projects into the grid.

“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.

“We are really encouraged by the recognition these early joint steps by our industry are receiving. They are paving the way for the more fundamental connections reform that we are collectively working with government and the regulator to deliver to keep Britain on track for a secure, affordable and net-zero energy system.”

A further 10GW of renewable projects, in particular battery projects and hybrid projects in which batteries are co-located with wind or solar, are expected to provide faster connections in 2024.