Detailed design for £54bn of new infrastructure to support UK and Scottish Governments 2030 offshore wind targets of 50GW and 11GW, respectively, is set to get underway following publication of a new report from electrical systems operator National Grid.
The Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design document sets out the need for four new subsea high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) links connecting the east coasts of Scotland and England along with other major infrastructure investments.
The plans set out in the report are described as the biggest network upgrade in 60 years and will result in a coordinated approach to connecting new offshore wind farms to the grid, rather than the current approach of each building their own grid connection. In addition to setting out the investment needed over the next eight years, the report also sets out the changes to standards and codes necessary to deliver the joined up approach.
National Grid has said that it hopes to have agreement on the code and design changes needed to deliver the work in place this autumn. Design work for the investment is anticipated in the first quarter of next year with site works expected from 2024.
According to National Grid, delivery of the work will create a major economic boost for the country and support thousands of highly skilled jobs in the supply chain, as well as adding efficiency savings.
Publication of the report, which was the result of work by National Grid with firms including Atkins, RPS and WSP, was welcomed by Great Britain’s three electricity transmission network owners National Grid Electricity Transmission, SSEN Transmission and SP Transmission.
SSEN Transmission managing director Rob McDonald said that the work outlined in the report was critical to the UK achieving energy security. He said: “The publication marks a huge step forward for those wanting an electricity system independent of imported gas and capable of connecting the huge renewable energy potential of wind energy needed to meet legally binding emissions reduction targets as we continue to deliver a network for net zero emissions in the north of Scotland.
“With over £7bn of investment in grid infrastructure in the north of Scotland alone, this blueprint can unlock Scotland’s vast offshore wind resources, with this major investment also providing huge economic opportunities for communities across the north of Scotland, supporting thousands of skilled jobs. The investments will also reduce our dependence on, and price exposure to, volatile global wholesale markets, helping deliver long term energy affordability.”
Nonetheless, McDonald said that a robust regulatory framework to fast track approval of work was needed to deliver on the pathway and he called on the UK and Sottish Governments, as well as Ofgem, supply chain and stakeholders, to work constructively with the three electricity transmission network owners.

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