The BEIS Review of offshore coordination

The BEIS department’s Offshore Transmission Network Review is currently looking at how the offshore electricity transmission network can be delivered in a more coordinated way to deliver net zero emissions by 2050, and we fully support that work.

Close-up of wind turbines at offshore wind farm

We will work closely with Government, stakeholders and coastal communities to ensure we play our part to deliver the infrastructure needed to achieve net zero in a way that reduces impacts on communities.

In meeting that challenge there are two key considerations. The first is the way in which we best connect and coordinate the growth of offshore wind farms and interconnectors to the electricity transmission network along the immediate coastline. The second is the network reinforcements required further inland to accommodate the increased demand on the network and to ensure we can effectively transport the power to where it is needed across Great Britain.

This offshore coordination work by Government is ongoing. As explained in the Energy White Paper, Government will be looking to redesign the current regime to bring more extensive coordination and mitigate environmental, social and economic costs for the 2030s and beyond.

While developers will be encouraged, where early opportunities for coordination exist, to consider becoming pathfinder projects, National Grid ESO explains in the 2021 NOA, that onshore reinforcement is still needed.

The System Operator’s analysis found that the viable offshore options, in the scenario where 40 GW of offshore wind is achieved by 2030, do not displace any of the onshore reinforcement requirements that have been identified.

Notwithstanding how offshore coordination is developed, major onshore development and electricity network reinforcement will therefore still be necessary. To put this into perspective, successfully delivering the Government’s 40 GW of offshore wind ambition will require around 500km of onshore and around 400km of offshore electricity transmission network being consented and delivered within this decade across the east side of the country.

Reinforcing the network between Norwich to Bramford and Bramford to Tilbury is an integral part of this and was confirmed as ‘critical’ for 2030 by National Grid ESO in the January 2022 edition of the NOA for all of the Future Energy Scenarios. As further reports become available, we will back check our proposals against these to ensure that they remain appropriate.