Ofgem OKs transmission investments needed for UK’s 2030 offshore wind target
Ofgem has approved the strategic electricity transmission reinforcements required to deliver the UK Government’s 50 GW offshore wind by 2030 target, set out as part of the regulator’s Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework.
The decision confirms that all SSEN Transmission projects identified by the Electricity System Operator (ESO) as required to meet 2030 offshore wind targets will be taken forward as part of the ASTI framework.
These include two 2 GW subsea HVDC links from Peterhead to England, both of which will be taken forward as joint ventures with National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), a 2 GW subsea HVDC link from Spittal in Caithness, connecting to Peterhead, as well as a 1.8 GW subsea HVDC link from Arnish on the Western Isles to the Beauly area near Inverness.
The approval also implies 400 kV onshore reinforcements, between Beauly, Blackhillock, New Deer and Peterhead; between Beauly, Loch Buidhe and Spittal; and between Kintore, Tealing and Westfield; and uprating the existing Beauly to Denny line to enable 400 kV operation on both circuits.
Ofgem has confirmed that these reinforcements will be exempt from proposals to introduce competitive ownership of onshore electricity networks, currently being considered as part of the UK Government’s draft Energy Bill.
According to SSEN, by confirming existing electricity transmission licensees will remain the delivery body for these reinforcements, Ofgem has provided the much-needed certainty required to support timely and accelerated delivery, including early supply chain engagement.
“Accelerating the development and delivery of the strategic electricity transmission infrastructure required to enable the deployment of homegrown and affordable, low carbon power, is arguably the most important enabler to securing the UK’s future energy security and net zero ambitions,” said Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission.
“This includes unlocking the first phase of the ScotWind leasing round, supporting UK and Scottish Government targets.”
In April, then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented a plan to boost Britain’s energy security which includes an increased target of up to 50 GW of operating offshore wind capacity by 2030.
The previous target set by the same administration was 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, 1 GW of which was targeted for floating wind.
The up to 50 GW of offshore wind capacity, of which the government would like to see up to 5 GW come in form of floating wind, is expected to be more than enough to power every home in the UK.