National Grid recommends an investment of £59.8 million across 25 asset-based projects this year.
In its Network Options Assessment for 2018/19, it says this investment, which is higher than last year’s, would allow it to maintain the option to deliver projects costing almost £5.4 billion.
The organisation says these projects may be needed to ensure the future capability of the country’s transmission network during an uncertain political landscape over coming decades and support the future development of the networks in an efficient, affordable and coordinated way.
The assessment includes a total of 115 different reinforcement options – 41 have been given either a ‘Stop’ or ‘Do not start’ recommendation as they have been assessed as not currently optimal.
In addition, 45 optimal options were recommended to be put on hold, where it is possible to delay investment decisions until there is greater certainty in the future. Where a decision cannot be delayed any further, National Grid has calculated the cost impact of deferring – this strategy has led to delaying a spend of £111,000 on two options in 2019/20.
Overall spend will be higher due to the Kemsley–Littlebrook circuits reconductoring project being delivered, as well as newly proposed options, such as power flow control devices, to be delivered as early as 2020.
The report also identifies a need for a least two England-Scotland reinforcements, each with a capacity of around 2GW from as early as 2027 to accommodate the high north-to-south flows, in addition to increasing flows between the UK and other countries triggering a need for a new transmission route between south London and the south coast.
National Grid’s analysis suggests total interconnection capacity of between 18.4GW to 21.4GW will be needed between the UK and European markets by 2031 to provide optimal consumer benefit and expects such infrastructure to continue playing a long-term role as part of the UK’s diverse energy mix following Brexit.