Do you know what the ongoing GB connections policy reforms mean for your grid connections?

Published August 2023

Ofgem, National Grid and the Energy Networks Association are proposing a number of tactical and strategic reforms to GB grid connections policy. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the flurry of activity on GB connections policy in the recent months, don’t worry, you are not alone! In his latest blog,  Everoze Partner Nithin Rajavelu picks out some of the key implications for renewables and battery storage developers and asset owners.

“Grid is king” has been the age-old mantra for renewables development pipelines in GB. If you have a connection date for your project this side of the decade you can count yourself lucky.

Such is the state of the connections landscape in GB. There has been a steep increase in new connection applications, particularly for battery storage, in the last couple of years with no significant change to how the connection applications are processed. Grid connection policy has been lagging behind the pace of development of renewable and battery storage projects and is one of the key barriers to achieving net zero.

But that is all changing now.

Between Ofgem’s open letter outlining its plans for connection policy reforms to address long-term strategic challenges, and National Grid ESO’s five point plan and more recently their connections reform consultation, as well as the ENA Strategic Connections Group’s (SCG) three quick wins to address a number of near-term tactical issues, there is a lot happening in the world of grid connections.

If you haven’t had a chance to digest the various consultation documents and plans yet, here is Everoze’s assessment of what these tactical and strategic actions mean for renewables and battery storage connections in GB.

Overall these reforms should mean faster connection times for new and existing connection offers which would be music to the ears of project developers. Implementation is likely to be a near-term challenge while National Grid ESO and the DSOs work out how best to implement these reforms particularly where ESO-DSO interfaces are needed.

Long term strategic reforms

There’s lots coming up in the world of GB connections for the rest of the year and over the next couple of years.

Alongside this, National Grid ESO is consulting on the future of connections policy in GB. Of the four short-listed options presented, NGESO indicates a preference for a two-stage batch-processing model for all generation and large demand connections. This is a substantial departure from the current queue-based ‘first come first serve’ model, and one which is more like the Irish connection process. There’s more to come on this and certainly one to keep an eye on as NGESO publish the final recommendations later this year [Nov 2023].

And there’s plenty more in the pipeline also: Review of Electricity Market Reform (REMA), introduction of Future System Operator (FSO), network planning review (NPR) some of which was mentioned in the Nick Winser report published earlier this month. All of which will shape how renewables and storage projects are developed and built-out as we hurtle towards achieving a net zero energy system.