Offshore grid coordination could save billions
part of a government-led review of offshore connections for offshore renewable
power and interconnectors, National Grid ESO (NG ESO) has shared the latest
report and opened a consultation for its Offshore Coordination project.
This consultation examines whether a more integrated approach to the connection
of offshore renewable power and interconnectors would be more beneficial
– for consumers, coastal communities and the environment - than the current
Analysis suggests that an integrated approach offshore could save consumers
approximately £6 billion, or 18 per cent, in capital and operating expenditure
between now and 2050. Savings are greatest (up to 30 per cent) where high
levels of offshore wind need to be connected to parts of the onshore network
already nearing operational limits, or where wind farms are located far
There are potentially significant environmental and social benefits, as
the number of onshore and offshore assets, cables and onshore landing points
could potentially be reduced by around 50 per cent, although some of these
assets would be somewhat larger.
NG ESO stated that 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 HVDC circuit breakers.
It stated that a targeted innovation strategy could help progress these
assets to commercial use and establish the UK as a world leader in offshore
Changes to the offshore connection regime will drive more coordination.
These include reviewing the assessment process for the location of offshore
connections (CION), investigating the packaging of connection offers with
other elements such as seabed leases, and a review of where liabilities
sit for offshore connections.
Many projects due to connect ahead of 2030 will have connection agreements
already in place and NG ESO will work with the relevant transmission system
operators and developers to continue to progress on the basis of those
The deadline for consultation submissions is 28 October 2020, after which
the ESO will review the evidence before submitting final reports to the
Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, as part of their
wider Offshore Transmission Network Review. This wider review will then
consider if changes to legislative and regulatory models are required to
support a more integrated approach to offshore connections.
For more information on offshore wind
farms and interconnector projects worldwide, click