Thursday, April 11, 2024

End the gridlock: Octopus Energy report reveals how to speed up green grid connection

Queue-jumping, sunset clauses and a data-driven can-do attitude are simple ways to connect renewables to the grid faster, a new report by Octopus Energy’s generation arm outlines. 

Increasing competition in the connection process and greater collaboration between developers are the other two areas that will help unleash Britain’s colossal green energy potential.  

Implementing this five-point-plan could unlock new wind and solar farms with clean electricity for around 2.5 million homes – covering the electricity needs for households in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds combined every year.  

The report by Octopus’ generation arm – who manage £6bn of renewable and energy transition projects – is much needed. The UK has one of the longest power grid connection queues in Europe, with over 200 GW of wind and solar projects currently waiting to get connected*

More urgency is needed to tackle this, as highlighted by a recent Government committee report showing how the UK is jeopardising fossil-free targets due to slow grid connection issues**

Connecting more wind and solar farms will deliver homegrown cheaper energy to British homes and drive down energy costs, as renewable energy like wind and solar continue to be the cheapest sources of energy with prices plummeting in the last decade***

The recommendations from the new report, End the gridlock, are drawn from Octopus’ own renewables development experience and from investments from the funds it manages.

Five-point-plan to speed up grid connection times for renewable projects: 

  1. Proactive queue jumping to connect renewable projects that are further along
  2. Enforce sunset clause on grid offers so old fossil fuels ones don’t take up space 
  3. A more transparent can-do attitude with data and tech driving it, creating ‘zones’ ripe for developing renewables quickly 
  4. Increase competition in the grid connection process 
  5. Enable collaboration between developers to share and reduce connection costs

Zoisa North-Bond, CEO of Octopus Energy Generation, said: “To accelerate Britain’s colossal renewable energy opportunity and drive down energy bills fast, we need to connect cheap green projects to the grid quicker. There’s no time to waste in an energy crisis – we need to end the gridlock now. 

“The single biggest blocker to renewables is waiting to connect to the grid, so we’ve identified quick wins that can genuinely make a difference today and connect wind and solar farms at pace. If we act fast, we can reduce reliance on expensive, polluting fossil fuels, and jump-start a cheaper, greener energy future for British homes and businesses.” 

The full End the Gridlock report can be found at this link

Sources:

*Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

** House of Commons BEIS committee report, Decarbonisation of the power sector, 28 April 2023

***Lazard data shows since 2009, the costs of renewables have come down massively (-63% for onshore wind and -83% for solar).

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