The way we generate electricity in the UK is changing rapidly, and we are transitioning to cheaper, cleaner, and more secure forms of energy like new offshore windfarms. We need to make changes to the network of overhead lines, pylons, cables, and other infrastructure that transports electricity around the country, so that everyone has access to the clean electricity from these new renewable sources.
The Government has set a commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and an ambition to connect 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough energy to power every home in the country.
To achieve this, offshore wind is being developed at scale and around 60% of the current offshore wind projects will come ashore along the East Coast.
Couple this with new nuclear generation proposed at Sizewell C and greater interconnection with countries across the North Sea, we expect to see a significant increase in the level of renewable and low carbon electricity generation connecting in East Anglia.
While our existing high voltage electricity network in East Anglia has been sufficient until today, it doesn’t have the capability needed to reliably and securely transport all the energy that will be connected by 2030 while working to the required standards.
In the first half of this decade, we are investing significantly in upgrading the existing network, but that still won’t deliver the capability that is needed. We need to reinforce the region’s network and to increase the network capability to carry the clean green energy that is proposed.
We are proposing to build approximately 183 km of new electricity transmission reinforcement between Norwich and Tilbury. This will be made up mostly of overhead line and pylons, along with some underground cables and a new 400 kV substation. Our proposals are part of The Great Grid Upgrade – the largest overhaul of the grid in generations.
Norwich to Tilbury will play a vital role in delivering electricity efficiently, reliably, and safely and will support the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions.
We are committed to working with local communities as we develop our plans. We want local residents to have the opportunity to access the new jobs, business opportunities and positive biodiversity and environmental improvements that The Great Grid Upgrade can deliver.
As part of our work to develop our proposals, you might see some activity in areas close to the route during the autumn and winter 2023. This includes our ecology and habitat surveys as well as our Ground Investigation (GI) studies, which include borehole drilling, trial pit digging and monitoring activities.
We need to carry out GI studies to help us better understand the ground conditions and potential effects of any future work as part of our technical and engineering assessments.
The findings from our surveys will help inform decisions on the routing and siting of the project and it is quite usual for these surveys to take place at an early stage of project development. Relevant land owners are aware of the survey work and we have agreed our access arrangements with them.
These surveys do not need planning permission; however, we have notified the relevant local planning authorities. We are also in contact with Natural England, the Wildlife Trusts and other organisations about our proposals for the project.
For further information about surveying, please visit our FAQ page.