Report: The Grid - the change needed to get renewables connected sooner

The GB grid is broken. Renewable developers are facing queues of up to 15 years to get projects connected, and we’re wasting an increasing amount of low-cost, and zero-carbon electricity each year as transmission build cannot keep pace with renewables investment.

The future electricity system will be people-powered - consumers collective ability to shift load will be more significant in capacity than the UK’s largest generator.

Therefore, significant change is needed. In this paper we unveil six core changes that can be made fairly easily to get renewables connected sooner - allowing GB consumers to benefit more quickly.

Our top 6 recommendations are as follows:

  1. The ESO and DSOs must accept that domestic flexibility is a reliable and bankable resource that can be used to manage demand/supply imbalances. All of their markets must be reformed, and technical barriers eliminated, to ensure domestic flexibility can participate and is valued equally to any system actions from generation.
  2. System operators must rapidly digitalise all operations to efficiently manage a system made up of thousands of assets. Human biases, manual processes and bilateral negotiations will have no place in the future electricity system.
  3. The grid connection process needs urgent reform. Providing potential applicants with transparent information about where there is the capacity to connect, combined with an overhaul of the connection queue process to allow ‘shovel-ready’ projects to jump the queue, will ensure GB stays on track to meet its renewable targets.
  4. Competition in the build of network infrastructure must be introduced to reduce costs, introduce innovation in solutions, and speed up connection times.
  5. The ESO and DSOs must find the most effective way to reduce network congestion and keep the costs as low as possible for consumers; be that through reform of the wholesale market, network charges or the firmness of grid connections given.
  6. Network governance arrangements must be clarified, and processes changed to ensure vested interests can no longer get in the way of GB’s decarbonisation progress. Institutional bodies and industry need clarity about the responsibilities of each party in (a) the management of national and sub-national energy markets, and (b) setting the strategic direction for code evolution.

The Grid: The change needed to get renewables connected sooner


Published on 20th October 2023 by:

image of Madelaine Brooks

Madelaine Brooks

Energy Markets and Regulation Researcher

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