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United Kingdom: Planned Generation and Transmission Capacity [free access]

November 9, 2021

According to NGET’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2021, the net increase in generation capacity is expected to be 175 GW during 2021–30 in the ‘Community Renewables and Two Degrees’ scenario. Meanwhile, net capacity additions of 165 GW and 200 GW are expected under the ‘System Transformation’ and ‘Leading the Way’ scenarios respectively, followed by 155 GW under ‘Steady Progression’. Rapid decarbonisation is a key element to achieving the net zero target by 2050 and enabling the decarbonisation of other sectors through rapid electrification.

 

Further, an increased electricity peak demand under NGET’s latest FES scenarios  as compared to its previous forecast highlights the requirement for more generation capacity with higher renewable energy with more flexible technologies and demand-side response systems.

 

 

Figure 1: Expected growth in generation capacity in the UK under various scenarios by 2030 (GW)

Notes: Data represents approximate installed electricity generation capacity, storage and interconnection in GW and is extracted from the Future Energy Scenarios 2021 published by the National Grid Electricity System Operator Limited. Source: National Grid Electricity Transmission's Future Energy Scenario (FES) 2021

 

Around 8,563 km (total gross addition) of transmission lines are expected to be added in the UK by 2028. Of this, 4,381 km will be developed during the 2021–24 period and the rest in 2025–28. Around 39,684 MVA of transformer capacity is also expected to be added by 2028, with 15,802 MVA being developed during 2021–24 and 23,882 MVA during 2025–28. The majority of the additions will be at 400 kV.

 

 

Figure 2: Share of new transmission line length and transformation capacity (2021–28)


Source: National Grid Electricity Transmission; Global Transmission Research

 

Apart from strengthening and improving the transmission network, various projects are being planned and are expected to be completed in the near future. The table below lists some of the key transmission projects that are either being implemented or will be implemented across the country. 

 


Table 1: Key transmission projects 

Project

Voltage (kV)

Length (km)

Scheduled completion

Estimated cost

400 kV East Coast reinforcement project

400

NA

2023

NA

East Anglia offshore wind farm connection project

±275/300-600 HVDC

NA

2026 (in phases)

GBP750 million

Eastern HVDC link

±500 HVDC

365

2024

EUR1,460 million

Hinkley Point C connection project

400

57

2024

GBP655.7 million

Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore grid connection

220

50

2023

GBP1.8 billion

Seagreen offshore grid connection

NA

NA

2024

NA

 

Shetland link

±275 HVDC

260

2024

GBP766 million

Western Isles transmission project

±150/132 HVDC

182

2021

GBP780 million

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck connection project

±320 HVDC

NA

2023

NA

Note: HVDC – high voltage direct current

Source: National Grid Electricity Transmission; Global Transmission Research