What is the Network Options Assessment (NOA)? 

The NOA is our recommendation for which reinforcement projects should receive investment during the coming year.

Every year we identify and recommend major National Electricity Transmission System (NETS) reinforcements projects to meet the future network requirements.

We reach our conclusions using the latest NOA methodology which is approved by Ofgem, and outputs from the FES 2020 and ETYS 2020.

At the ESO, we are always thinking long term and create plans to best predict the needs of Great Britain whilst making sure we deliver value to the consumer.

National Grid ESO - Network Options Assessment NOA 2020 - options summary graphic.png

Watch: Network planning process video

The NOA plays an important role in developing an efficient, coordinated and economic electricity transmission system.

Watch the video to learn more about the network planning process, how this works with our zero-carbon ambitions and how we're working with stakeholders to develop the process.

Open playlist


Latest news and updates

Modelled Constraint Costs NOA 2020/21

Our latest summary and analysis of constraint costs and possible mitigations.

NOA 2020/21 methodology consultation has now started

We have opened the consultation for our NOA 2020/21 methodology. It will close on Tuesday 22 June 2021

Change to recommendation to BRRE

We undertook further analysis following some latest developments which has caused a change to BRRE's recommendation. Read the letter here

NOA 2020/21 report is now live

The publication is now available to download.

Missed our webinar? Download the recording.

Missed our webinar? Download the recording.

UoM review of the NOA Process - Economic Aspects

In 2020 the University of Melbourne reviewed the NOA Process as part of an innovation project. Download their report on the economic aspects.

UoM review of the NOA Process - Technical Aspects

In 2020 the University of Melbourne reviewed the NOA Process as part of an innovation project. Download their report on the technical aspects.

Download the NOA publication

National Grid ESO - Network Options Assessment NOA 2020 - Front cover.jpg

NOA 2020/21 (Interactive)*

You can download the latest NOA 2020/21 interactive report here.
*The report does not reflect the change to BRRE's recommendation dated April 2021.

Download here

NOA 2020/21 in numbers*

*The following numbers do not reflect the change in the recommendation to BRRE dated April 2021. You can read more in our letter here.

Total cost:
Investing in 2021/22:
4 ESO-led commercial solutions
Asset-based options:41
Additional consumer benefit of up to:£2.1bn
Do not start or Stop:
Total deferred spend of delaying 2 options£3.2m
‘Optimal’ but not required this year66
Not ‘optimal’ and shouldn't be progressed this year58
NOA Interconnector analysis:
Total interconnection capacity range between GB and European markets:16.9-27.7GW

Investment recommendations 2020/21

Overview of options submitted this year

 The options that are analysed in the NOA fall into two main groups:

  1. Asset-based options
  2. ESO proposed options

This year we received a total of 171 options which were placed into various categories:

National Grid ESO - NOA 2020 - Reinforcement options categories
Scotland and the north of England

For Scotland and north of England region, we identified 62 optimal options and received the following recommendations:

CodeOption descriptionEISDNOA 2020/21 recommendation
BBNCBeauly to Blackhillock 400kV double circuit addition2030Proceed
BDUPUprate the Beauly to Denny 275kV circuit to 400kV2028Hold
BLN2Beauly to Loch Buidhe 275kV reinforcement2030Proceed
BPNCA new 400kV double circuit between Blackhillock and Peterhead2029Hold
CBEUCreyke Beck to Keadby advance rating2023Hold
CDHWCellarhead to Drakelow circuits thermal uprating2023Proceed
CDP2Power control device along Cellarhead to Drakelow2023Hold
CDP3Additional alternative power control devices along Cellarhead to Drakelow2023Hold
CGNCA new 400kV double circuit between Creyke Beck and the south Humber region2031Proceed
CKPCPower control device along Creyke Beck to Keadby to Killingholme2023Hold
CMNCSouth east Scotland to north west England AC onshore reinforcement2033Proceed
CRPCPower control device along Cottam to West Burton2023Hold
CS05Commercial solution for Scotland and the north of England - stage 1 2023Proceed
CS06Commercial solution for Scotland and the north of England - stage 22023Proceed
CTP2Alternative power control device along Creyke Beck to Thornton2024Proceed
CWPCPower control device along Cottam to West Burton2023Hold
DEPCPower control device along Drax to Eggborough2023Hold
DLRELoch Buidhe to Dounreay 275kV double circuit reconductoring2027Hold
DLUPUprate the Windyhill-Lambhill-Denny North 275kV circuit to 400kV2028Hold
DNEUDenny North 400/275kV second supergrid transformer2025Hold
DWN2Denny to Wishaw 400kV reinforcement2028Delay
DWNODenny to Wishaw 400kV reinforcement2028Proceed
DWUPEstablish Denny North-Clydesmill-Wishaw single 400kV circuit from existing 275kV circuits.2026Proceed
E2DCEastern subsea HVDC Link from Torness to Hawthorn Pit2027Proceed
E4D3Eastern Scotland to England Link: Peterhead to Drax Offshore HVDC2029Proceed
E4L5Eastern Scotland to England 3rd Link: Peterhead to the south Humber offshore HVDC2031Proceed
ECU2East coast onshore 275kV upgrade2023Proceed
ECUPEast coast onshore 400kV incremental reinforcement2026Proceed
ECVCEccles hybrid synchronous compensators and real-time rating system2026Proceed
EDNCUprate Brinsworth and Chesterfield double circuit to 400kV and a new 400kV double circuit between Ratcliffe and Chesterfield2033Proceed
EHREElvanfoot to Harker reconductoring2027Hold
GWNCA new 400kV double circuit between the south Humber area and south Lincolnshire2031Proceed
HAE2Harker supergrid transformer 6 replacement2023Proceed
HAEUHarker supergrid transformer 5 and supergrid transformer 9A banking arrangement2022Proceed
HNNOHunterston East–Neilston 400kV reinforcement2023Proceed
KWHWKeadby to West Burton circuits thermal uprating2023Hold
KWPCPower control device along Keadby to West Burton2023Hold
LBREBeauly to Loch Buidhe 275kV double circuit OHL reconductoring2027Hold
LRNCSouth Lincolnshire to Rutland reinforcement2031Hold
MRP2Additional power control devices at both Harker and Penwortham2021Proceed
NEMS225MVAr MSCs within the North East region2024Hold
NEP1Power control device along Blyth to Tynemouth and Blyth to South Shields2024Hold
NEPCPower control device along Blyth to Tynemouth and Blyth to South Shields 2023Hold
NOPCPower control device along Norton to Osbaldwick 2023Hold
NOR4Reconductor 13.75km of Norton to Osbaldwick number 2 400kV circuit2023Hold
NOR5Reconductor 13.75km of Norton to Osbaldwick number 1 400kV circuit to a higher rated conductor2023Hold
NSM1225MVAr MSCs within the North East region2024Hold
OPN2A new 400kV double circuit between the existing Norton to Osbaldwick circuit and Poppleton and relevant 275kV upgrades2027Proceed
PWMSTwo 225MVAr MSCs at Penwortham2024Hold
SBDCSpittal to Blackhillock HVDC reinforcement2029Hold
SHNSUpgrade substation in the south Humber area2031Proceed
SSHWStella West to Spennymoor circuit thermal uprating2022Hold
TDP2Additional power control device along Drax to Thornton2024Hold
TDPCPower control device along Drax to Eggborough2023Hold
TFPCPower control device on Tealing to Westfield circuit 2024Hold
TGDCEastern subsea HVDC Link from south east Scotland to south Humber area2031Proceed
THS1Installation of a single series reactor at Thornton substation2023Proceed
WHTITee-in of the West Boldon to Hartlepool circuit at Hawthorn Pit2021Proceed
WLTIWindyhill–Lambhill–Longannet 275kV circuit turn-in to Denny North 275kV substation2022Proceed
WRREReconductor West Burton to Ratcliffe-on-Soar circuit2027Hold
TDR1Reconductor Drax to Thornton 2 circuit2021Hold
TDR2Reconductor Drax to Thornton 1 circuit2021Hold
South and east of England

For south and east of England region, we identified 47 optimal options and received the following recommendation:

CodeOption descriptionEISDNOA 2020/21 recommendation
AENCA new 400kV double circuit in north East Anglia2030Proceed
ATNCA new 400kV double circuit in south East Anglia2030Proceed
BFHWBramley to Fleet circuits thermal uprating2023Hold
BFPCPower control device along Bramley to Fleet2024Hold
BFREBramley to Fleet reconductoring2024Hold
BMM2225MVAr MSCs at Burwell Main   2022Proceed
BPREReconductor the newly formed second Bramford to Braintree to Rayleigh Main circuit2028Proceed
BRREReconductor remainder of Bramford to Braintree to Rayleigh route2023Hold
BTNOA new 400kV double circuit between Bramford and Twinstead2028Proceed
BWREReconductor Barking to West Ham double circuit2024Hold
CS07Commercial solution for East Anglia - stage 1 2024Proceed
CS08Commercial solution for East Anglia - stage 22024Proceed
CTREReconductor remainder of Coryton South to Tilbury circuit2022Proceed
ESC1Second Elstree to St John’s Wood 400kV circuit2025Hold
FMHWFeckenham to Minety circuit thermal uprating2023Hold
FMPCPower control device along Feckenham to Minety2024Hold
FWPCPower control device along Feckenham to Walham2024Hold
HWUPUprate Hackney, Tottenham and Waltham Cross 275kV to 400kV2027Proceed
IFHWFeckenham to Ironbridge circuit thermal uprating2023Hold
MBHWBramley to Melksham circuits thermal uprating2023Hold
MBREBramley to Melksham reconductoring2025Hold
NBREReconductor Bramford to Norwich double circuit2024Hold
NIM1225MVAr MSCs at Ninfield2024Hold
NIM2225MVAr MSCs at Ninfield2024Hold
NOM1225MVAr MSCs at Norwich2024Hold
NOM2225MVAr MSCs at Norwich2024Hold
NTP1Power control device along North Tilbury 2023Hold
PEM1225MVAr MSCs at Pelham2024Proceed
PEM2225MVAr MSCs at Pelham2024Proceed
RHM1225MVAr MSCs at Rye House2024Proceed
RHM2225MVAr MSCs at Rye House2024Proceed
RTREReconductor remainder of Rayleigh to Tilbury circuit2021Proceed
SCD1New Offshore HVDC link between Suffolk and Kent Option 12029Proceed
SEEUReactive Series Compensation protective switching scheme2022Hold
SER1Elstree to Sundon reconductoring2024Proceed
SER2Elstree–Sundon 2 circuit turn-in and reconductoring2025Hold
TENCThames Estuary reinforcement2030Proceed
TGP1Power control device along Tilbury to Grain2024Hold
THREReconductor Hinkley Point to Taunton double circuit2025Hold
TKP1Power control device along Tilbury to Kingsnorth2024Hold
TKRETilbury to Grain and Tilbury to Kingsnorth Upgrade2027Hold
WAM1225MVAr MSCs at Walpole2024Hold
WAM2225MVAr MSCs at Walpole2024Hold
WSEUThermal upgrade for Sundon and Wymondley 400kV substation2023Hold
WSR1Sundon-Wymondley circuit 1 reconductoring2024Hold
WSR2Sundon-Wymondley circuit 2 reconductoring2024Hold
WYTIWymondley turn-in2023Hold

For Wales and West Midlands region, we identified 4 optimal options and received the following recommendation:

CodeOption descriptionEISDNOA 2020/21 recommendation
MIC1Cable replacement at Severn Tunnel2026Hold
PTC1Pentir to Trawsfynydd cable replacement2026Hold
PTNONorth Wales reinforcement2027Delay
WCC1Cable replacement at Hinksey2026Hold

What is NOA for Interconnectors?

The NOA for Interconnectors (NOA IC) is an assessment of how much interconnection with Great Britain would provide the most value to consumers and other interested parties.

Increased levels of interconnection bring significant benefits to GB and European consumers, in terms of lower wholesale energy prices and greater use of renewable power leading to reduced CO2 emissions.

It evaluates the potential benefit of additional interconnection by considering three elements:

  • Social economic welfare – the benefit to society.
  • Constraint costs – the impact of the interconnector on the GB network.
  • Capital expenditure costs – of both the interconnector and any associated network reinforcements

Our NOA methodology explains how the NOA IC undertakes this analysis.

Interconnector outcomes

This year’s analysis identified a range of potential opportunities for additional interconnection to create value for GB and Europe, both economically and environmentally.

 A total interconnection capacity in the range of 16.9 GW to 27.7 GW between GB and European markets by 2040 would provide the maximum benefit for GB consumers.

 This is between between 3 to 5 times times the current level of operational GB interconnection of 6 GW.

National Grid ESO - NOA 2020 - Interconnectors

What's next?

National Grid ESO - Industry information - Grid code CUSC code - the Shard from London Bridge

NOA interested Persons’ Process

The Interested Persons’ options process is designed to increase the diversity of options considered within the NOA process through academic and industry participation. We are now seeking new and innovative ideas for potential inclusion in future NOAs.

Contribute to the NOA methodology

To make our process transparent, we follow the NOA methodology, in full consultation with our stakeholders and which is approved by Ofgem on an annual basis. We look forward to having conversations with you between now and June.

National Grid ESO - ENCC transparency roadmap - electric car on a road

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date with all of the latest news in Network Development, including NOA, ETYS and NOA Pathfinder projects.

National Grid ESO - close up view of woman working from home

Tell us what you think of the NOA

We are keen to work with stakeholders to help shape our plans. Please let us know what you think about the NOA by completing our short survey.


Connect with NOA

Contact us if you have a question, want to share some insight or have feedback on any part of NOA.

Email the team