Scotland’s energy minister is calling for urgent reform to grid connections in order to deliver the country’s offshore wind potential.
Speaking at the Global Offshore Wind 2023 conference in London today, Gillian Martin will say “there is more that Ofgem, the National Grid electricity system operator and the UK Government can do”.
Through the ScotWind auction, Scotland now has several gigawatt-scale offshore wind projects set to be build off its coast.
However a lack of grid infrastructure is a major barrier to development.
Work is needed to connect them to key power demand hubs – other cities across the UK – and address the issue of higher transmission charges in Scotland.
Setting out the scale of the challenge at the All-Energy Conference in Glasgow last month, Siemens Energy said the National Grid needs, by 2035, to deliver five times as much infrastructure as it has in the last 40 years.
Ms Martin will say ScotWind “set the benchmark” for industrial-scale deployment and described it as “the greatest economic opportunity of recent times,” which Scotland has to capitalise on.
“There is more that Ofgem, the National Grid electricity system operator and the UK Government can do. High transmission charges remain a key barrier to Net Zero in Scotland and a new approach is needed.
“Reform of the connections process is urgently required to allow projects to join when they’re ready to do so. And the UK Government needs to provide the right powers to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government that will enable us to modernise the planning and consenting system for grid infrastructure.
“These are challenges which must be tackled immediately if Scotland – and indeed the UK – is to stay on target for a just transition to net zero and to truly reap the benefits of Scotland’s enormous offshore wind potential.”
Grid concerns were also addressed by offshore wind champion Tim Pick in his report earlier this year.
He noted that upcoming recommendations from Networks Commissioner Nick Winser on these issues “however radical, should be taken very seriously”.