(Bloomberg) -- The UK will trim regulations for new power grids to speed up the construction of infrastructure vital to source more of the country’s electricity from wind.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets — known as Ofgem — published a series of policy changes Thursday that will help ramp up construction of £20 billion of power transmission on land as well as new connections offshore. The moves aim to help the country meet the target to more than triple its capacity of wind farms at sea to 50 gigawatts by the end of the decade.
The target was part of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Energy Security Strategy published in April following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While there are already sufficient offshore wind farm projects in planning that could meet that goal, the country’s current energy grid is insufficient to move the electricity from far flung points of generation to the population centers where it’s needed.
“The Government’s Energy Security Strategy set out a series of steps to accelerate our transition away from reliance on expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels,” Ofgem wrote in a report. “The invasion of Ukraine highlights that this transition is now not just a matter of meeting Great Britain’s Net Zero targets, but also highlights the need to reduce our reliance on gas from a security of supply perspective.”
To enable the 50 gigawatts by 2030 target, Ofgem will create what it calls an “Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment” regulatory framework to help fund large new infrastructure projects. The roughly £20 billion of investment that fall under that framework will benefit from trimmed down regulation to help speed up delivery.
At the same time, the energy regulator has also broadened its framework for offshore infrastructure. Ofgem aims to expand rules on funding new offshore connections to help deliver more capacity in the coming years. The moves will help companies like SSE Plc that will invest in such infrastructure.
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