National Grid to fast-track connections for 19 battery storage projects

Pictured: A 98MW a 98MW battery energy storage project in Cottingham. Image: Harmony Energy

The organisation confirmed the accelerated timelines on Monday (6 November), stating that the projects across England and Wales are, in some cases, being installed before non-essential grid upgrades are completed.

The previous approach assumed the battery developers would wait for these upgrades to prevent curtailment. Now, they have agreed to accept the risk of occasional curtailment from the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) in exchange for early connection.

National Grid has stated that an additional batch of battery projects, likely those co-located with wind or solar generation facilities, will be offered accelerated transmission connections in early 2024. This second tranche is also likely to have a collective capacity around the 10GW mark.

The acceleration of the battery project connections come after National Grid set out plans to accelerate grid connections for up to 10GW of renewables back in September. It has also identified projects that could be removed from the connections queue to free up space for more ‘shovel-ready’ alternatives.

In a statement, the firm said it has already been in touch with the leaders of more than 200 projects interested in fast-tracking their connections. More than a dozen of these projects expressed a keen interest in connecting within 12 months and a further 180 are seeking to connect within two to five years.

All decisions about which projects to remove from the queue, and which to accelerate, are based on planning assumptions agreed between different National Grid Bodies and aligned with reforms currently underway with the involvement of the UK Government, Ofgem and National Infrastructure Commission.

The ESO has already published a wider five-point plan detailing how it will play its part in reforms to the connections process.

National Grid Electricity Transmissions president Alice Delahunty said: “We’re committed to speeding up connections and creating a ‘fit for the future’ process for plugging projects into the grid.

“Bringing these battery projects forward is one of a range of actions that our electricity transmission business is delivering alongside the system operator and wider industry to unlock clean energy capacity in England and Wales.”

The news comes as the House of Commons Energy Security and Net-Zero Committee conducts its inquiry into grid flexibility. Members of the Committee heard this week that some solar projects are being offered connection dates in the late 2030s.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie