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Proposed 500km electricity superhighway between Scotland and Yorkshire receives provisional £3.4 billion funding package

A provisional funding package of £3.4 billion has been announced for a proposed subsea and underground 500km electricity superhighway between Scotland and Yorkshire which could power up to 2 million homes. 

Eastern Green Link 2 (EGL2) is a proposed 2GW* high voltage electricity ‘superhighway’ cable link between Peterhead in Aberdeenshire and Drax in North Yorkshire. Most of the cable (around 436km) will be under the North Sea with the remaining 70km buried underground onshore. Two converter stations, one at each end of the cable, are planned to help feed the electricity transported by the cable into the grid and from there onto consumers.  

Designed to help harness the potential of Britain’s offshore wind power, EGL2 is the second project so far to proceed under Ofgem’s new fast track Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework. Earlier this month the first ASTI project, Eastern Green Link 1 (EGL1) another subsea link between England and Scotland received a provisional £2billion funding package. 

ASTI is designed to speed up the delivery of strategic energy projects, enabling more electricity generated by offshore wind to be delivered to British consumers. The new framework accelerates the project funding process by up to two years. EGL2 is one of 26 projects identified as critical to meeting the Government’s target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and included in Ofgem’s ASTI cohort.  

The project is financed by the developers with costs later recouped through bills. To ensure consumer costs are minimised Ofgem has scrutinised the costs proposed by the developers under the ASTI process. It has identified £67 million that could be cut from indirect costs without impacting project delivery or quality. 

Delivery of projects such as EGL2 will not only provide millions of consumers with access to homegrown wind energy, by boosting grid capacity it will further benefit consumers by cutting compensation paid to generators currently asked to turn off production, during times of high wind, due to lack of grid capacity.   

Rebecca Barnett, Ofgem Director of Major Projects, said:   

“To ensure we meet future energy demand and achieve Government net zero targets we must speed up the expansion of the high voltage electricity network which connects consumers to homegrown energy.” 

“Eastern Link 2 is the second project to reach this stage under our new Accelerated Strategic Transmission (ASTI) process which has been designed to boost Britain’s energy security by unlocking investment and speeding up the delivery of major power projects.”  

She added: “However just because we’ve streamlined the approval process doesn’t mean we’re handing developers blank cheques. The ASTI framework helps ensure consumers are protected from unnecessary costs and we make budget adjustments where we don’t see maximum efficiency and benefit for consumers.” 

The proposed budget is now subject to a consultation published today.  

Feedback on the proposed budget can be sent to riioelectricitytransmission@ofgem.gov.uk

The consultations are due to close on Friday 26 April. Ofgem will consider all responses and will publish a decision on next steps on its website.

The project is also subject to it securing future planning permission in a process overseen by the Planning Inspectorate.  

Notes to editors  

*  A gigawatt (GW) is equivalent to one billion watts, and one gigawatt hour (GWh) of electricity is enough to power one million homes for one hour.      

Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI)  

Delivering Net Zero requires a huge amount of new infrastructure.  

The Government’s ambition is to build 50GW of offshore wind to be constructed by 2030.   

This new infrastructure is needed to carry electricity from offshore sites to homes and businesses, but we need it to be built at speed to meet Government’s target.  

The Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment (ASTI) framework has been designed to fast track strategically important energy transmission projects.    

It streamlines the onshore transmission regulatory approval process and ensures robust consumer protection to allow network infrastructure to be built faster, accelerating build times by up to two years and unlocking capital investment to meet the Government’s target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and a decarbonised power grid by 2035.  

A total of 26 projects have been identified by Ofgem for progression under the ASTI process.  

If all ASTI projects are delivered by their optimal delivery dates, we expect consumers will see a net benefit of up to £2.1bn in terms of reduced constraint costs and carbon savings. However, this consumer benefit is contingent upon timely project delivery.  

For further detail please see the decision document: Decision on accelerating onshore electricity transmission investment.

Eastern Green Link 2 (EGL2) 

EGL2 proposes building an ‘electricity superhighway’ connection linking the Scottish and English transmission networks from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland to Drax in North Yorkshire, England. It consists of around 436km of 2GW High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) submarine cable laid under the North Sea and around 70km of onshore cable buried underground.  Two converter stations are needed at each end of the cable to enable the electricity to be fed into the onshore transmission network.  required to transform the electricity to alternating current (AC) as used on onshore network.  

The project is being jointly developed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission (SSENT)  and National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) with construction planned to start in 2024, with the new connection due to be operational by 2029. 

Channel website: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/proposed-500km-electricity-superhighway-between-scotland-and-yorkshire-receives-provisional-ps34-billion-funding-package

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