Reforming connections and expanding capacity within the UK power grid are anticipated to attract £90 billion in investments over the next decade. These initiatives, outlined in the Autumn Statement, are complemented by a £960 million investment in green industries. The government, led by the Chancellor and the Energy Security Secretary, has unveiled its response to recommendations from Electricity Networks Commissioner Nick Winser, embracing his suggestions across the board.
Energy Security Secretary, Claire Coutinho, emphasised the shift from unreliable imports to domestically sourced energy. The grid is being strengthened to accommodate the expected doubling of electricity needs by 2050, resulting in reduced bills and the acceleration of £90 billion in investments over the next 10 years. Residents in close proximity to new infrastructure may enjoy up to £1000 annually off their energy bills, with communities receiving a minimum of £200,000 for locally prioritised projects.
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The adopted measures aim to halve the construction time for high-voltage power lines from 14 to 7 years. The Connections Action Plan seeks to reduce the average delay for projects connecting to the grid from 5 years to 6 months, eliminating the existing “first-come, first-served” system that impeded grid access. Communities hosting new power infrastructure stand to benefit through reduced electricity bills and funding for projects aligned with their priorities.
Empowered to decide on allocation, communities may direct funds toward initiatives such as apprenticeships, energy efficiency measures, local parks, or community energy generation. Properties near new transmission infrastructure could potentially receive up to £1000 annually off electricity bills for a decade. ScottishPower’s Chief Executive, Keith Anderson, lauded the government’s commitment to supporting communities hosting critical national infrastructure.
London’s £960 million investment in the Green Industries Growth Accelerator targets the rapid development of advanced manufacturing capacity in key net-zero sectors, including offshore wind, networks, carbon capture, usage and storage, hydrogen and nuclear. National Grid’s Chief Executive, John Pettigrew, emphasised the significance of a spatial energy plan and accelerated planning consent in providing clarity, authority and urgency to construction plans. New community benefit proposals aim to ensure that local residents remain central to the ongoing energy transition.