Delayed projects to lose place in Grid queue

New rules aim to speed up connections for ‘ready to go’ projects

The energy regulator has unveiled tough new rules to speed up electricity Grid connections for viable generation and storage projects, and prevent ‘zombie’ schemes from blocking the queue to access the transmission network. 

Under existing rules, Grid connections are awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. This has led to the Grid being oversubscribed, with a long queue of energy projects that would be sufficient to generate almost 400GW of electricity – several times the 65GW that the UK currently needs. The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) estimates that between 60% and 70% of these projects will fail to materialise, and some energy developers have been offered Grid-connection dates as far away as 2037. 

The new queue-management milestones will be implemented by the ESO from 27 November 2023, and will be introduced for existing and future Grid-connection agreements. Stalled or speculative projects that are blocking the queue for high-voltage transmission lines will be terminated to enable the fast-tracking of generation and storage that is ready to go. The first terminations are likely to happen as early as 2024, according to energy regulator Ofgem. 

Julian Leslie, chief engineer and head of networks at the ESO, said: ‘[We] will be uncompromising in our approach to driving out projects that cannot meet their connection date, paving the way for more viable projects that have a real chance of plugging into the Grid, energising the UK economy.’

The ESO has recently concluded an amnesty for projects that were willing to give up their place in the queue.