The UK-based National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has published a £54bn ($64.9bn) plan to upgrade the country’s electricity network to handle rapid expansion in offshore wind energy.
The government intends to have 50GW of offshore wind capacity operational by 2030, up from the present 10GW.
The new, upgraded network is expected to cater to the additional capacity of 23GW, as reported by the Financial Times.
This upgrade plan envisages a single, integrated approach to support electricity delivery from offshore wind on a large scale.
It was outlined in a report titled ‘Pathway to 2030 including the Holistic Network Design (HND)’.
National Grid ESO developed the HND with transmission owners and in consultation with Ofgem, the UK, Welsh and Scottish governments, as well as offshore developers and environmental stakeholders.
It primarily includes projects in offshore wind that have secured seabed leases through Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind Leasing Round and the Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing Round IV.
National Grid ESO said that compared with a design that individually connects wind farms, the planned concerted approach will save consumers £5.5bn in costs by 2030.
National Grid ESO executive director Fintan Slye said: “The publication of the Holistic Network Design is a key step in providing certainty to offshore wind developers and mitigating potential impacts on the environment and local communities from energy infrastructure.
“It will also ensure the process provides value for money for consumers while meeting the Government’s ambition for up to 50GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
The holistic network design was developed as part of the ESO’s role in the Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR).
OTNR was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in July last year.