National Grid has set out a £58bn ($74bn) investment programme to revamp the UK’s electricity grid.

The proposal is in response to the anticipated surge in electricity demand and the integration of renewable energy projects necessary to meet the UK’s decarbonisation targets by 2035.

The Electricity Systems Operator’s (ESO) report indicates that Britain’s electricity network, which has seen only minor upgrades since the 1950s, is on the cusp of a significant transformation.

This is due to an expected 64% increase in electricity demand by 2035, driven by sectors such as transportation and heating transitioning to electric power.

The investment programme recommends the expansion of the offshore power grid and the construction of a new north-to-south electrical “spine”.

This infrastructure would facilitate the transmission of electricity generated in Scotland to the north of England.

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New transmission lines are proposed to extend from Scotland further south, enabling the distribution of renewable energy to urban demand centres.

The ESO emphasises the necessity for funding to connect new power sources such as solar and wind farms to the grid and ensure their electricity can be transported nationwide.

With Scotland’s Crown Estate granting leases for 28GW of capacity, Scotland is poised to produce more than five-times its current peak winter demand of 5GW by 2035.

This expansion will raise the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 86GW, exceeding the current global installation of 63GW.

The report also highlights the potential for job creation with an estimated 20,000 new roles, 90% outside London and the south-east.

The plans are still in the preliminary phase, with planning permission and community consultation processes yet to commence.

ESO executive director Fintan Slye stated: “Great Britain’s electricity system is the backbone of the UK economy and must be fit for the future.

“ESO’s Beyond 2030 network design outlines recommendations on the investment needed and how and where to coordinate the build of this new critical national infrastructure.

“To deliver the clean, secure, decarbonised system set out by government and devolved governments, we must take swift, coordinated and lasting action working collaboratively across all parts of the energy sector, government, the regulator and within our communities.”

In November 2023, National Grid announced the speeding up of the connection of 20GW of clean energy projects to its electricity transmission and distribution networks across England and Wales.

The new policy was part of the ESO’s connections reform initiative to increase transmission capacity.