Over recent years, we have witnessed significant and rapid change in the energy landscape.

Electricity networks will play a critical role in meeting Government targets, such as connecting 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and integrating further clean energy sources to ensure all generation is net-zero carbon by 2035.

This has meant that the types of connections required to the high voltage electricity transmission network are shifting.

The range of connections required have moved from large-scale conventional generation to a range of renewable generation, batteries, and directly connected demand, such as datacentres.

These changes and positive progress on decarbonisation, particularly over recent months and years, has led to an unprecedented number of applications to connect to the electricity transmission system – with some customers being offered connections dates further into the future than they would like.

Therefore, as the energy landscape shifts, the process to connect to the transmission network must also change.

To keep in touch with all of our work alongside the ESO on their Connections Reform, and other areas of interest, click below to receive regular updates.

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Our role as the Transmission Owner

As the Transmission Owner (TO) for England and Wales, National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) will play a vital role in the future connection of customers to the electricity network.

We will:

  • Recognise and identify challenges that our customers are facing

  • Support changes required to the connections arrangements so that they are fit for purpose- both for the energy landscape today and that of the future.

  • Facilitate changes within our control that support wider reform of the Connections Process.

  • Ensure we feed the views of our customers and stakeholders into the ESO’s process for reform.

  • Work closely with the ESO throughout the project.

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The Electricity System Operator Reform project

The Electricity System Operator (ESO) has launched the Connections Reform project to address the challenges faced with existing connections arrangements.

Find out more about the ESO Connections Reform project

Short term change: Transforming the current connection process

As well as working with the ESO and other industry parties to develop updated connections arrangements for reform, we have already been implementing short term change through our transformational connections projects as outlined below.  

Two Step offer process- a new offer product to enable a fresh approach to connections

It has been identified that a new connection offer product is essential to provide space in which to reassess the current electricity transmission entry pipeline according to new construction planning assumptions and updated battery modelling. This could result in a potential reduction in wait times for connections for connecting customers.

Learn about the two step offer here
Engineers review plans

TEC Amnesty- enabling projects to hand back connections capacity without cost

It is important that where we are investing to connect developer projects to our network that they remain viable. TEC Amnesty presents a one-off opportunity for stalling generation projects to cancel at a far lower cost than normal arrangements.

Find out more about the TEC amnesty here

Queue Management- ensuring project milestones are met in building new connections

We are working with industry to enhance connection arrangements to ensure that allocated network capacity is fully utilised. Where contracted projects cannot progress in agreed timescales, it allows action to be taken to free up capacity for the benefit of other viable projects.

Learn more about Queue Management here

Further short term transformation measures under development

More information on these topics will be available soon. 

Updated modelling assumptions

Ensuring accurate modelling for the current and future transmission system:

We are also working with ESO to update the power system modelling backgrounds and key modelling assumptions, which are used to assess the impact of new connections on the transmission system.

This will see us model different technologies that are realistically going to be exporting or importing power from the grid at different times. For example, batteries are unlikely to be exporting to the grid while offshore wind generation is high.

This is an important step as we move to a more flexible energy system but could also unlock capacity, potentially enabling some customers to connect sooner.

Battery Reform

Changing how battery technology is categorised in the transmission entry queue:

Batteries will no longer be considered in the same category as standard generators and may be given conditional non-firm access to the network by the ESO.

This would allow batteries early access to the network, under the condition of management by the ESO. Any enabling works will still need to be identified and completed before a firm offer of connection is extended and restrictions on operations are removed.

The ESO may only apply this access to areas with a high concentration of renewables. Overall, these measures will reduce the number of batteries in the connection process.

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