UK: Ofgem Plots Offshore Grid Expansion

UK energy market regulator Ofgem launched its Decarbonisation Action Plan on 3 February 2020. The plan aims to ensure a path to UK’s net zero future, which includes supporting the development of an offshore grid to accommodate the UK offshore wind ambitions.

The Decarbonisation Action Plan comprises nine actions that would lead to building a system that supports the expansion of renewable energy and facilitates adding ten million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030.

The document shows Ofgem plans to strongly back the development of an offshore grid that will enable a four-fold increase in offshore wind generation by 2030.

In March 2019, the UK set the target to have 30GW of connected capacity by 2030.

In November 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he was pledging to increase the UK’s 2030 offshore wind target from the current 30GW to 40GW if his Conservative party wins the general election. A month later, the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) urged Prime Minister Johnson to deliver on the promised 40GW-by-2030 commitment.

Specific targets aside, when it comes to the new action plan of the UK energy market regulator, it states that Ofgem will – together with the government and the industry – explore opportunities for greater coordination to enable rapid expansion of an offshore grid at the lowest cost.

Ofgem’s plan also focuses on decarbonising the heating sector, where it will also work closely with the government as it develops its strategy.

For adding electric vehicles, Ofgem will publish an Electric Vehicle Strategy that will address how the grid needs to evolve to meet increased demand.

“As low-carbon renewable energy grows and more transport goes electric, the energy system needs to be more flexible to respond to peaks and troughs in both supply and demand. Our new price controls for network companies will clear the path for this, providing the incentives for investment for the future,” said Jonathan Brearley, new chief executive at Ofgem.

“It is now vital that the energy industry rises to the challenge and demonstrates how it will work with the Government and Ofgem to decarbonise Britain’s energy system at lowest cost.”

To remind, in the summer of 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass the net zero emissions law committing to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

Photo: Ørsted/Illustration

Related news

List of related news articles