Leading the green recovery electricity network companies are to invest over £300 million in network capacity for electric transport, clean heat and wider infrastructure development.
Following a successful call for evidence, in which local authorities, developers and other parties stated the case for extra network capacity to receive investment, Britain’s energy networks will now accelerate funding over the next 12-24 months.
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses said:
“With just a few months left until COP26 we are delighted to have been able to bring forward such a crucial enabler of the Prime Minister’s green recovery ambitions. Delivering a green recovery for seas, skies and streets, over £300m of electricity distribution network investment will enable wide-ranging projects which help tackle some of our biggest Net Zero challenges, like electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport.
“This new funding shows the social, economic and environmental benefits that can be brought forward by industry working closely with a flexible regulator.”
Projects selected include those in the areas of electric flight, shipping, heating and road transportation. These projects will not only play a critical role in driving a green recovery but will provide a foundation for the emerging technologies needed for a Net Zero future. Details of some of the projects can be found below.
Key case study map
Further case studies from across Britain
|Western Power Distribution||South West – Truro||In Truro Western Power Distribution are replacing two 132/33kV transformers, bringing on 30MW extra capacity for demand and for generation. Reflecting a £2m investment there are a multitude of uses for this new capacity. The area has abundant existing and proposed solar resources as well as a proposed garden village where a number of low carbon technologies are being considered. Crucially, Cornwall is also an area with many homes which do not have access to the gas network. With improved capacity in the county, more homes in Cornwall will have the option of switching to electric solutions.|
|Western Power Distribution||Wales||Every year the Brecon Beacons are visited by over four million people; that’s four million people who, before long, will need to charge their electric vehicles. As part of the Green Recovery programme, Western Power Distribution are making multiple 11kV network investments through new cabling and substations, representing a £1million investment in Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells. Whilst not solely intended for electric vehicle charge points, there has been a strong interest in establishing charge points in this area, catering to the rural tourist areas between Brecon Beacons National Park and Shropshire Hills AONB|
|Western Power Distribution||West Midlands – Gloucester Services M4||At the Gloucester services on the M4, Western Power Distribution are to build a 11kV network extension via two new cables from Tuffley 33/11kV substation towards Gloucester Services. In short, this allows for an increase of 8MW in demand and 6W in generation. Representing a £1.6m investment this facilitates connection of charging points for electric vehicles along this major, arterial road, as well as other growth in this area on the outskirts of Gloucester. Crucially, the cables will be laid rated at 33kV for efficiencies in future as growth increases – effectively futureproofing the project for the further growth anticipated in the area.|
|Western Power Distribution||East Midlands – East Croft Nottingham||Nottingham City Council aim to transform the area into the first carbon neutral city by 2028. With that in mind, Nottingham is a known growth area with significant plans for low carbon technology growth in the coming years whilst also handling existing network constraints. To enable this, Western Power Distribution are investing £3.5m in a new 33/11kV substation in the city centre. This investment will provide 24MW of extra capacity for demand and 18MW extra capacity for generation.|
|Electricity North West||Windermere||Cumbria County Council’s Carbon Management Strategy aims for the county to become “carbon neutral” by 2037. Decarbonisation of transport plans include; tourist activity, which will ensure electric vehicle charging facilities at major tourist carparks, and the replacement of the existing aging diesel Windermere ferry with a new environmentally friendly electric ferry. To accommodate these new low carbon connections in the Windermere lakeside area, Electricity North West plan to invest approximately £700k to install 4km of 11kV cable to enhance the network capacity there before 2022. A further investment of up to £1m is planned to strengthen the upstream 33kV network to ensure the security of this new capacity.|
|Electricity North West||St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, Carlisle||Building on Carlisle’s designation by the World Health Organisation as a World Healthy City, St Cuthbert’s will be a place that encourages and facilitates a healthy lifestyle. Walking and cycling, supportive neighbourhoods, planned educational facilities and a strong sense of community spirit will all improve health and wellbeing. An objective for St Cuthbert’s is to promote sustainable energy use and the development of renewable energy resources, where feasible. It will also set out to promote energy efficient buildings whilst maintaining thermal comfort levels. Renewable and low carbon heat supplies being considered for the sites include: Solar thermal Air source heat pumps Water source heat pumps Ground source heat pumps Energy from sewers Deep geothermal Energy from waste Industrial waste heat Electricity North West propose to utilise the replacement of the overhead lines that currently traverses the area with cables as an opportunity to uprate the circuits in the area and meet the developments needs for an additional 8.5MW of electrical capacity. The new electrical network will be designed with the requirements to support both electrical consumption and generation in mind, enabling the decarbonisation vision of the Garden Village. As well as installing a higher capacity replacement circuit, Electricity North West plan to install ducts to futureproof the development, enabling future cables to be easily installed, providing the potential for even more capacity. This includes provisions for the connection of electric vehicle charging capacity at Southwaite Service Station on the M6 motorway. This has been provisionally indicated for a required capacity between 2MVA and 7MVA to meet the requirement of EV charge points at motorway service areas. This proposal also leaves options open for a new primary substation to support St Cuthbert’s as it continues to develop and grow.|
|SP Energy Networks||North Wales||SP Energy Networks is working with a community in North West Wales to unlock capacity on the existing network to facilitate the installation of a hydro generator in the village of Mynydd Llandygai, near Bethesda. This project will provide domestic customers in the area with the opportunity to use locally produced renewable energy. This investment will create capacity in the existing network through the installation of new assets which will release capacity that is currently constrained. By doing so, the community will be able to realise its ambition to switch to local hydro power. The project has already secured the necessary planning permission from Gwynedd County Council and gained the appropriate licences from Natural Resources Wales to extract water from the Afon Galedffrwd river. The project is being driven by the community itself and supports a Welsh Government target that at least 1 GW of renewable energy capacity should be locally owned by 2030. There is already an expectation that all new energy projects in Wales should have at least an element of community ownership.|
|SP Energy Networks||Runcorn||SP Energy Networks is to construct two new substations which will kickstart the Runcorn Station Quarter regeneration project. Community leaders have signalled their ambition to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the area and this investment in the local network will make that a reality. Making the station area compatible with the increased use of both private and public service electric vehicles, such as taxis, will transform it into a modern gateway that welcomes visitors, improves transport connections and encourages development opportunities for new business, leisure and housing. Following the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge, Runcorn Station Quarter is one of the area’s key regeneration projects to develop newly unlocked land. Investment in the local electricity network will create additional capacity, supporting further regeneration of the wider area through the development of vacant land to attract new environmentally friendly businesses and housing developments. The Runcorn Station Quarter is part of the overall vision for the area and forms part of the £1bn Mersey Gateway Regeneration Plus Plan, which is one of North West England’s most exciting and varied regeneration opportunities.|
|SP Energy Networks||Glasgow||A new substation constructed by SP Energy Networks will provide a lasting COP26 legacy by creating capacity to facilitate future green developments and the connection of low carbon technologies. The project will create the necessary headroom to ensure that local businesses, amenities and housing can play their part in decarbonising heat and transport without concerns over the capacity and security of the electricity network. This project will see the installation and commissioning of a new substation on land close to the COP26 venue in Glasgow by the end of 2023. The funding has been unlocked through the Green Recovery Investment programme, with UK electricity network operators working with Ofgem and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) to identify projects suitable for £300m worth of investment. The hosting of COP26 in Scotland’s largest city in November this year requires additional network capacity to ensure security and reliability of electricity supply during the event. Phase one of the project will ensure that this additional demand can be supported by new circuits operated from an existing nearby substation. However, a new substation will be required to ensure the new equipment from phase one and the additional capacity it creates can be utilised to its full potential in 2022 and beyond. The benefits will extend beyond the immediate reach of the proposed new substation by releasing capacity at adjacent sites. The north side of the River Clyde in this area has witnessed significant development in recent years and this will continue in the years ahead. Within the local area there are several brownfield sites which offer opportunities for further development, particularly to the west of the area. Glasgow City Council has been actively supporting developments that will accelerate the decarbonisation of both transport and heat as it attempts to reach its goal of a Net Zero city by 2030. The area falls within the Glasgow Riverside Innovation District (GRID), which seeks to leverage innovation opportunities to realise growth for jobs and infrastructure in this area. Encompassing both banks of the River Clyde, an area synonymous with the legacy of shipbuilding and Glaswegian leadership in industry, GRID offers Glasgow the chance to reimagine its proud industrial heritage for the 21st century, and to establish its position as a leader in the hi-tech industries of the future. Additional opportunities then exist to interconnect the developments on the north side of the river with the key development areas in Tradeston, Kinning Park and Govan on the south side of the river. This compliments £25-£30m of investment currently underway in these areas to futureproof the existing network for the uptake of low carbon technologies.|
|SSEN||Orkney Islands||One of the investment programmes supported by the green recovery scheme is a £2.7m upgrade to the network near Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. Primary substation infrastructure and 16km of overhead power lines will be upgraded, creating 7.3MW of additional network capacity. Alongside enabling additional capacity to accommodate predicted demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electrification of heat in the area, this strategic investment will support the development of the UK’s first low carbon aviation test centre at Kirkwall Airport. The project will support the pioneering Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) initiative, led by Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL), which aims to create the world’s first zero emission aviation region in the Highlands and Islands. Green recovery investment will support the upgraded power supply to a new hangar and wider airport infrastructure, including charging of electric aircraft and hydrogen/hydrolysis units. With Kirkwall Airport as an ideal test location due to the variety of short routes connecting Orkney’s island communities, the SATE project will trial aircraft powered by electricity, hydrogen or Sustainable Aviation Fuels, as well as drones for supplying medical supplies to health centres. Addressing the challenge to improve UK regional air connectivity and helping to decarbonise the Highlands and Islands region, the innovative project will stimulate job creation and use local renewable energy, supporting Orkney’s net zero ambitions. Led by HIAL, the SATE project brings together a consortium of aviation industry specialists, local Orkney and Caithness businesses, public sector bodies and academia. The project is expected to make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions at Kirkwall Airport (c. 2,550 tCO2e) and will support the transition to net zero for one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise.|
|SSEN||Wheatley||An Oxfordshire village, and critical local infrastructure, is set to benefit from a £3.9m investment to support the transition to net zero. Low carbon technologies (LCTs), including electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps, are forecast to rapidly increase within Wheatley and across the UK. As part of the Green Recovery programme SSEN will reinforce 10km of overhead line and 1km of underground cable serving the village and motorway service area. The 24-month project will unlock 14MW of additional capacity, enabling residents of Wheatley and the surrounding area to make the switch to LCTs and create the potential for additional EV charging at Oxford Motorway Service Area. Range anxiety is one of the key barriers to individuals switching to EVs. With the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles being banned from 2030, SSEN is playing a leading role in delivering the infrastructure required to support and accelerate the EV transition as part of the green recovery. The Oxford Motorway Service Area is in an important location for the UK’s road network. Having a network of strategically placed EV charging facilities will be key to ensuring infrastructure is ready for EV growth, helping facilitate longer journeys for EVs and growing confidence in the sector. This investment will support delivery of local and national LCT ambitions, accelerating the UK and Wheatley towards a green recovery.|
|Northern Powergrid||Grimsby and Immingham||
The Humber is
rapidly becoming a major centre of the UK’s green industries, with the Siemens
offshore wind turbine factory, Drax’s biomass facilities and major plans to
become a hydrogen cluster.
enabling this growth is Northern Powergrid’s investment of 3.5m to create an
additional 120MW of capacity for Grimsby |
and Immingham that will enable a range of projects to come forward quicker, including renewable generation, green shipping and hydrogen production. This additional capacity will also enable regeneration of the area around Immingham Port which was recently awarded Freeport status.
Alnwick and Belford
|Northern Powergrid is also delivering schemes in Northumberland that will unlock capacity for EV charging on the A1 trunk road that connects England and Scotland.|
|UKPN||East of England||Across the East of England UK Power Networks are delivering the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging hubs at more than forty locations. With sites across Essex, Norfolk, Sussex and Hertfordshire, they will go a long way to bringing access to electric vehicles to a wider group of people. Representing £38million in total investment, this new network capacity is the equivalent of approximately 2,700 rapid chargers, directly enabling the current and forecast increase in electric vehicles.|
|UKPN||South East||UK Power Networks is investing £12,000 in Hastings local area capacity. This will allow the local community to build the infrastructure for a new heat pump for a community-run building open to the public directly enabling the transition from gas heating to a greener future|
|UKPN||London||Supporting Transport for London and the Mayor of London in their vision to decarbonise the capital UK Power Networks are supporting seven bus garages across Greater London to go electric. Representing an investment of £3.9million, this will deliver extra capacity, equivalent to about 1,000 rapid chargers. Tripling the existing electric bus charging provision, this new infrastructure will go a long way to improving air quality for Londoners and visitors to the capital.|