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UK ESO Unveils GBP 58 Billion Grid Investment Plan to Reach 86 GW of Offshore Wind by 2035

Great Britain’s electricity system operator (ESO) has proposed a GBP 58 billion (approximately EUR 68 billion) investment in the electricity grid. The proposal outlines a vision for incorporating an additional 21 GW of offshore wind into the grid by 2035, which would bring the country’s total offshore wind capacity to a potential 86 GW.

The ESO released on 19 March the first Beyond 2030 report. The plan sets up the necessary infrastructure to transfer power to and from future industries, as electricity demand is expected to rise by 64 per cent by 2035, according to the ESO.

The grid operator said that the plan connects a further 21 GW of offshore wind in development off the coast of Scotland to the grid in an efficient and coordinated way which would bring the country’s total offshore wind capacity to a potential 86 GW.

The proposals could assist the UK government in meeting the sixth Carbon Budget and allow for the connection of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind leasing round.

“For comparison, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) states that there is currently 63GW of offshore wind installed globally. In total there will be over 30 GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters compared to 6 GW of peak electricity demand in Scotland in 2035,” said the ESO.

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The grid operator recommends an expansion of the offshore grid and a new north-to-south electrical spine. Offshore wind farms in development off the coast of Scotland would have their green energy transported via a new electrical spine spanning potentially from Peterhead to Merseyside, however, this is an early-stage option that would require further consideration and consultation.

The Beyond 2030 report also recommends further offshore bootstraps along the East coast of Britain. By 2035, Great Britain will have one of the “most expansive and coordinated offshore grids in the world” said the ESO, with three times more undersea cabling than onshore.

“Great Britain’s electricity system is the backbone of our economy and must be fit for our future. ESO’s Beyond 2030 network design outlines recommendations on the investment needed and how and where to coordinate the build of this new critical national infrastructure,” said Fintan Slye, Executive Director of ESO.

“To deliver the clean, secure, decarbonised system set out by Government and Devolved Governments we must take swift, coordinated and lasting action working collaboratively across all parts of the energy sector, government, the regulator and within our communities.”


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