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Electricity networks accelerate potential connection dates of over 200 clean energy projects

  • 7.8GW of clean energy projects, more than double the output of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, have had their grid connection offer dates brought forward by up to 10 years
  • Acceleration delivered through a programme called ‘Technical Limits’ which is allowing projects to connect to lower voltage distribution networks prior to reinforcement of the high voltage transmission network
  • Last month a solar farm in Somerset became the first project to be energised as part of the programme.
  • Technical Limits forms part of ongoing collaborative industry efforts, together with Ofgem and government, to speed up and reform connections to the grid


Electricity networks in England and Wales have enabled the grid connection offer dates of over 200 clean energy projects to be brought forward.

7.8GW of clean energy projects, more than double the output of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, have had their connection offer dates brought forward by up to 10 years through the Technical Limits programme, which is allowing projects to connect to lower voltage distribution networks prior to reinforcement of the high voltage transmission network.

Networks have so far sent offers to 203 projects totalling 7.8GW with an average connection acceleration of 6.5 years. In total 393 projects are eligible for the programme with the further 190 projects able to receive accelerated offers once they have progressed through the connection offer process. Last month a solar farm near Bridgwater in Somerset became the first project to be energised under this scheme. Horsey Levels solar farm, which will provide clean energy for 10,000 homes annually, connected to National Grid’s electricity distribution network significantly ahead of its original planned connection date. This initial acceleration has been delivered in the first phase of the Technical Limits programme, with further phases and analysis planned.

Technical Limits, a collaborative project from National Grid Electricity Transmission, Energy Networks Association, the Electricity System Operator and the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) forms part of the ongoing collaborative industry efforts, together with Ofgem and government, to speed up and reform connections to the grid. Scottish Transmission and Distribution network owners have been involved in developing the Technical Limits programme and are in the process of rolling out the programme in their license areas also.

Welcoming the announcement Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Justin Tomlinson said:

“Thanks to a team effort, over 200 clean energy projects will be connected to our grid earlier. It means thousands of homes and businesses will be powered by more renewable energy generated in Britain.

We are delivering the biggest reforms to the network since the 1950s – allowing us to hook more renewables up to the grid so households and businesses can benefit from cleaner, cheaper electricity.”

To deliver the accelerated offers engineers from National Grid and DNOs carried out detailed analysis of power flows across the boundaries between the transmission and distribution networks. By agreeing new power flow limits DNOs have been able to offer selected projects an accelerated connection date before transmission network reinforcements are complete, on the agreement that the DNO can limit flows from the project under certain operating conditions.  The 203 connection offers that have been issued in the first phase have an average export curtailment of 22% per year with the expectation that in the long term these interim arrangements will be replaced as network capacity increases.

Alice Delahunty, President of National Grid Electricity Transmission added:

“Connecting projects to our transmission network, and unlocking capacity at lower voltage distribution networks, is a massive priority for us.

The Technical Limits programme is a fantastic example of cross industry collaboration. This team effort has delivered an innovative solution to connect schemes more quickly. We’re pleased to see the first project connect earlier than expected and look forward to many more.

It forms part of a wider range of measures to help connect projects faster, including upgrading the grid – the biggest upgrade in a generation – and working collaboratively with industry, government and the regulator on reforms to the connections process.”

Jack Presley Abbott, Ofgem Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Connections, said:

“We’re now beginning to see the benefits of connections reform initiatives and we welcome the accelerated grid connections that the Technical Limits project is starting to deliver.

However there is still much more to do. Many projects are still facing years of delay to connect to the grid. That’s why we’re continuing to work closely with the ESO, network operators, industry and government to ensure the range of reforms set out in the Connections Action Plan are driven through as quickly and effectively as possible to expedite the process for projects that are ready to connect to the grid.

We look forward to seeing what further benefits are delivered through Technical Limits in later phases and across all of the Transmission Operators.”

Lawrence Slade, CEO, Energy Networks Association said:

“Today’s announcement shows the hard work, coordinated effort and spirit of innovation network operators and our partners are employing to increase the pace of connections being offered to customers.

We are already connecting projects at a faster rate than ever before, but we need strategic changes, particularly in planning processes, if we are to go even faster in meeting the huge demand for new connections.”

 David Wildash, Head of Connections at the Electricity System Operator said:

“We are pleased to have been a part of this collaborative effort to deliver accelerated connection dates for hundreds of projects – delivering on a key aspect of our five-point plan for connections reform.

We know there is still lots more we all need to do to deliver even more clean, secure power to homes and businesses across Great Britain. This kind of innovative work to unblock capacity in the short term must take place in tandem with long-term connections reform – as set out in our recently announced ‘First Ready, First Connected’ proposals. These would see significant action across the whole of the current queue, potentially halve its size and enable viable projects to connect to the grid quicker.”

Contact Information:

Ben Davis
National Grid
07971 539999

Notes to editors

Examples of Technical Limits acceleration from Distribution Network Operators: 

  • In September 2023 National Grid Electricity Distribution shared how it had identified 10GW of network capacity it could offer to customers for earlier connections as part of the Technical Limits work, with a solar farm in Somerset becoming the first project to connect under the scheme in March 2024. Horsey Levels near Bridgwater has been developed and constructed by clean energy company Enviromena and will have an annual energy yield of 27,550MWh – enough to provide clean energy for 10,000 homes and avoid 5,000 tonnes of CO2.
  • In December 2023 Northern Powergrid shared how it expects to be able to accelerate the connection of up to 4.4GW of customers’ projects, which is enough electricity to power over 10 million homes.
  • In December 2023 UK Power Networks shared how Technical Limits is helping unlock an additional 4GW of network capacity in their license area.
  • In February 2024, the smallest DNO, Electricity North West shared how it has provided accelerated access to an additional 1.4GW of network capacity from its implementation of technical limits at the network interface with the National Grid Electricity Transmission
  • In March 2024 SSEN Distribution shared how it expects to unlock over 7GW of new electricity capacity in its two distribution network licence areas in the coming years through the technical limits programme. A review of its first tranche of six GSPs is already enabling accelerated timescales for 25 projects, including one offer to Wokingham Solar Farm to bring forward its connection by up to 13 years.

About National Grid in the UK

National Grid sits at the heart of Britain’s energy system. The individual companies in our group run the networks and infrastructure that connect millions of people to the electricity they use every day.

Our regulated businesses own and develop the high voltage electricity transmission (ET) network in England and Wales, and the electricity distribution (ED) network in the Midlands, South West England and South Wales. The Electricity System Operator (ESO) is the legally separate (and in the process of becoming fully independent) arm of our group which manages supply and demand on Britain’s electricity transmission networks. Operating separately from these core regulated units, National Grid Ventures (NGV) focusses on competitive markets, investing in energy projects, technologies and partnerships such as electricity interconnectors.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

IMAGE: National Grid Electricity Distribution’s South West Operations Director Steve Cross and Primary Network Design Engineer Adam King at the Horsey Levels solar farm launch.