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UK Speeds Up Grid Connection For 20 GW Of Clean Energy

National Grid, the UK’s power systems operator, is accelerating the connection of up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects to its electricity transmission and distribution networks in England and Wales as part of a collaborative UK plan to speed up and reform connections.

The speeding up of the connection of the renewable energy projects is part of ongoing collaborative industry efforts, together with regulator Ofgem and the government, National Grid said in a statement on Monday.

On the transmission network, 19 battery energy storage projects worth around 10 GW will be offered dates to plug in averaging four years earlier than their current agreement, the system operator said. This is based on a new approach that removes the need for non-essential engineering works prior to connecting storage.

National Grid has contacted more than 200 projects interested in fast-tracking their distribution connection dates in the first wave of the capacity release. Of those, 16 have expressed an interest in connecting in the next 12 months and another 180 are looking to connect within two to five years, the company said.

“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,” Alice Delahunty, President of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said.

Grid connections have been a hurdle to a faster rollout of renewable energy projects in the UK.

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 earlier this year.

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.

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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. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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