National Grid ESO highlights integrated grid benefits
Grid ESO (NG ESO) has issued its final Phase 1 report, which assesses the
most beneficial approaches to offshore grid networks in order to deliver
better outcomes for consumers and coastal communities.
The ESO Offshore Coordination project forms part of the Department of Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Offshore Transmission Network Review
(OTNR). The ESO project has been examining a more coordinated approach
to offshore network development, including the connections required and
technology availability, and assessing the costs and benefits of such an
approach to inform the OTNR. NG ESO launched its consultation on 30 September
2020, seeking stakeholders’ feedback on its approach to this analysis
and subsequent findings.
In response to feedback, NG ESO conducted a new sensitivity analysis on
the impact of commencing integration in 2030, compared to integration commencing
in 2025, as in its original analysis. It outlined that there is benefit
in moving to an integrated network and the importance of considering what
flexibility there is for coordination between 2025 and 2030.
The key messages in the report are:
There are also significant
environmental and social benefits with an integrated approach, as the number
of new electricity infrastructure assets, including cables and onshore
landing points, could be reduced by around 50 per cent.
Delivering the extent
of integration required in this timescale would be extremely challenging
and potentially risk meeting the target of 40 GW of wind by 2030. However,
the benefits reduce the later integration begins.
An integrated approach
for projects to be delivered from 2030, compared to the status quo, would
deliver savings to consumers of around £3 billion (or 8 per cent) and could
facilitate a 30 per cent reduction in the new electricity assets required
associated with these offshore connections.
There is therefore
a need to deploy innovative and flexible approaches to the connection of
offshore wind in the intervening period until a new enduring, integrated,
approach is in place such that, as much as possible, the benefits of an
integrated approach can be captured for consumers and communities without
placing the delivery of projects underway and the offshore wind target
at undue risk.
The increased levels
of offshore wind mean there will be an increase in onshore infrastructure
in all options, including, and potentially beyond, that set out in the
Network Options Assessment (NOA), However, adopting an integrated approach
across onshore and offshore can minimise the overall increase.
The majority of the
technology required for the integrated design is available now or will
be by 2030. However, a key component to release the full benefits of an
integrated solution are high voltage direct current (HVDC) circuit breakers.
A targeted innovation strategy in the UK, along with support for early
commercial use, could help progress HVDC circuit breakers to commercial
use and establish Great Britain as a world leader in offshore grids.
There is a need for
all parties to work collaboratively and at pace to enable Great Britain
to achieve its offshore wind targets and net zero ambition at least cost
to consumers and with least impact on communities and the environment.
- Adopting an integrated
approach for all offshore projects to be delivered from 2025 has the potential
to save consumers approximately £6 billion, or 18 per cent, in capital
and operating expenditure between now and 2050.
The full report can
be found here.