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More than 1,000 wind and solar projects with planning permission in the UK cannot begin construction due to challenges to connect to the national grid, the Local Government Association (LGA) warned this week.
According to the association, communities across the UK have approved more than 1,300 renewable energy schemes that are waiting to be built. Of those, just 150 are currently under construction.
The solar schemes awaiting construction alone would generate around 15,000 megawatts (MW) a day, enough to power 1.9 million UK homes, the association added.
Communities are waiting for years for a wind and solar project to be built. If not fixed, this issue would undermine the UK’s targets to reach net zero and continue boosting the share of renewable energy in electricity generation, the LGA said.
In some cases, the current waiting times for connection to the grid are decades.
“For example, plans have been submitted for a solar farm in Coventry but the earliest it can be connected to the grid is 2028. In Dorset, it has become almost impossible to secure grid connections with some projects being told they cannot be connected until 2036,” the association said.
LGA environment spokesperson Linda Taylor commented,
“It’s fantastic to see a rapid rise in planning permissions for green energy projects. However, the numbers awaiting construction is concerning, with many pointing to delays in securing the grid infrastructure that connects solar panels to kettles.”
Earlier this year, Ofgem, the energy market regulator, began a process to reform the electricity connection system and accelerate low-carbon energy schemes connecting to the grid.
According to Ofgem, around 20% of generation capacity in the transmission queue will have to wait a further 10 years before reaching their connection dates. Moreover, over 40%, or 120 GW worth of renewables capacity, of all new generation capacity holding transmission connection agreements today have connection dates of 2030 or beyond.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.