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In April 2019, the Electricity System Operator is becoming a separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change will mean.

Investing for the future

The third annual Network Options Assessment (NOA) for Britain’s electricity transmission system is now available, and recommends a total investment of £21.6m for 2018/19.

Much has been said about the changing energy landscape over the past few years. We know that there will be more renewables, such as wind and solar generation, on the network and the current transmission system is looking to be even more flexible and responsive while maintaining its robustness. This transformation is not possible without the right infrastructure in place through sensible investment. And that is what this year’s Network Options Assessment (NOA) is all about.

This year’s NOA recommends a total investment of £21.6m for 2018/19 across 22 projects that will improve the GB electricity transmission system. This investment will also keep open the option of delivering projects worth just over £3.2bn in the coming years, if and when they are needed.

The NOA is published by National Grid as part of its role as the System Operator (SO), and is designed to help equip GB transmission networks to meet future challenges.

It bases its recommendations on the analysis of the economic benefits of major projects proposed by the transmission owners.

“As the SO, we have to make the best possible use of bill payers’ money and ensure that all investment in the system is truly necessary,” said Kelvin Lambert, National Grid’s NOA lead.

“Where projects are put on hold, this is often because the final investment decision is better made when there is greater certainty around the energy landscape.”

As the SO, we have to make the best possible use of bill payers’ money and ensure that all investment in the system is truly necessary.

- Kelvin Lambert, NOA lead

Stages of development

This year, the SO received 76 proposals for projects at various stages of development.

Of the 22 recommended for investment in 2018/19, ten are ongoing projects, eight have previously been assessed with no action taken, and four are entirely new to the NOA.

Among these recommended projects, there are a few that will trigger more in-depth studies, including a route between south London and the south-east coast, potentially for completion in the late 2020s, and a subsea cable link from Scotland to northern England.

Another area that the NOA investigates is interconnection between GB and Europe. Interconnectors enable power to be imported into GB during periods of high demand, and exported when GB has more power than required. Interconnectors can help reduce consumers’ bills and increase security of supply. The NOA includes analysis that helps inform the market of what the right level of interconnection is between GB and Europe. There is currently 4GW of interconnection capacity between GB and Europe; by 2030 this year’s NOA suggests that this should rise to 17.4GW to maximise benefits to consumers.

We recommend that members of the public read the NOA, which is available on our website.    

Insight:

This year’s NOA recommends a total investment of £21.6m for 2018/19 across 22 projects that will improve the GB electricity transmission system.

Source: NOA 2017/18