An investment of up to £300 million is available for the decarbonisation of the electricity grid under plans drawn up for a green recovery by electricity network companies and Ofgem.
Members of the Energy Networks Association (ENA) are working closely with the regulator to unlock early investment in the grid to support “technologies of tomorrow” to be delivered quickly, helping drive green jobs and green growth across the UK.
The ENA has launched a six-week call for local authorities, developers and other parties to state the case for why extra capacity in their locality should be selected for investment, with plans to support shovel-ready projects that underpin the transition to a net zero economy.
Funding bids will be assessed on value for money, short term grid capacity utilisation and how quickly the infrastructure and solutions can be completed, in support of the UK’s 2050 net zero goal.
The funding will be in part sourced from network companies’ existing allowances, where they have delivered efficiencies from the RIIO-ED1 price control period.
These existing funds as well as newly raised funds will be reallocated to help fast-track network capacity investment in places where it will support green developments, with the investment directed to the most efficient projects i.e. flexibility, whole-systems solutions and ‘least-regrets’ expenditure.
ENA Chief Executive David Smith said: “The prime minister has given a very clear direction that the economic recovery from COVID-19 is to be as green as possible – we are incredibly proud to be making that a reality.
“Our energy network operators have already helped turn Britain into a superpower of renewable energy. With this backing from Ofgem and the government, we can ramp up the network investment to support not only renewables but battery storage, electric vehicles, heat pumps and all of the other technologies we will need to achieve our net zero future.”
Each distribution network operator will provide a list of potential sites, which have been identified across their network, where early investment in network capacity could support local developments and projects.
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan added: “The UK’s energy system is one of the most advanced in the world and through the prime minister’s Ten-Point Plan and our Energy White Paper, we are ensuring that it is also the greenest so we can eliminate our contribution to climate change.
“Unlocking investment in the grid is vital to speed up the development of clean, green technologies that cut emissions and create thousands of jobs as we build back greener.”