National Grid ESO - solar panels & wind turbines

‘Get on, get back or get out of the energy queue’ - ESO announces urgent action to speed up electricity grid connections by up to 10 years

  • Following on from our five-point-plan, we are today introducing additional targeted reforms to further speed up connections to the electricity grid.
  • If energy generators are not progressing their project, they will have to either move backwards in the queue or leave, making space for other projects ready to progress and connect.
  • To check whether milestones are met or not, we will be supported by a engineering consultancy. A legal firm has been retained to ensure any contractual changes are rapidly executed.
  • In a further development to help projects to progress even quicker, we are today setting out our support to enable developers to build their own connections into the grid.

We are today introducing targeted further reforms, which build on our five-point-plan, to speed up connections to the electricity grid.

We have written to parties seeking to connect to the transmission system to ask for updates on progress and project milestones, so that non-viable projects can be identified enabling those that are ready and able to connect to the grid much more quickly.

This follows the decision by the Code Panel, the body in charge of changes to the Codes that govern the energy industry, to recommend changes to Ofgem in how connection contracts are managed, which will enable us to more effectively manage the queue. We are working with Ofgem on these reforms.

Energy generators that are not progressing and will not meet their connection date will either be able to choose to move backwards or leave the queue, in order to make way for projects that want to connect and are delivering on their milestones. These reforms will mean that projects will be able to connect up to ten years earlier.

The milestones that projects will have to meet are common sense points such as raising finance for the project, buying land, getting planning permission, and breaking ground. Projects with timelines impacted by network build delays outside the control of the developers will not be negatively impacted by these changes.

To help in checking and verifying whether projects are progressing towards their contracted connection dates, we will be supported by an international engineering consultancy and a legal firm.

To illustrate the scale of the connections challenge, there are approximately 220 projects due to connect to the national transmission system before 2026, totalling circa 40GW – this equates to more than double peak demand in the summer months for all of Great Britain. However only half of these have got planning consent at this stage and some have moved their connection dates back by over fourteen years.

In a further development to help projects to progress even quicker, we are today setting out our support for changes to enable developers to build their own connections into the grid. The final consultation on the code modifications required to give effect to this was published yesterday on the ESO web site. 

Read the code mod

We are examining ways that these changes can be delivered as soon as possible – we are working with Ofgem to rapidly implement this.

We have also today published our policy paper setting out how we will fulfil our commitment to connect up to 95GW of energy storage into the grid more quickly.

Read our policy paper