Malternative Energy – Giving a dram about decarbonisation
Scotland. Proud home of the noble haggis, magnificent...
Xodus’ cables team has been long awaiting the announcement of ScotWind and any further information with regards to how offshore energy will be connected back to shore. The latter point is critical as the UK Government targets 40GW of offshore wind installed by 2030 and an estimated 50-75GW is required by 2050. While the current permitting system puts developers in charge of identifying sites with the lowest cost and environmental impacts, the accumulated environmental and social impact of individual grid connections will quite possibly become the greatest barrier to consent, as well as technical/financial headache in achieving the offshore wind capacity required to realise Net Zero.
Xodus believes that Net Zero can only be achieved through a more integrated spacial and grid planning approach, considering meshed offshore transmission, HVDC technology, linking interconnectors to Offshore Wind, and Oil & Gas facilities, as well as the development of the hydrogen economy. In addition to the technical challenges there are also numerous regulatory hurdles to be overcome, requiring conversations across a wide spectrum of stakeholders. With an offshore wind project taking around 10 years from concept to commissioning, achieving improvements in offshore and onshore grid transmission for 2030 must start yesterday!
For this reason Xodus welcomes the Environmental Audit Committee’s Letter sent to the UK’s Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, last week. The recommendation that OFGEM seek an independent review of offshore grid connection structure and that a more strategic approach is adopted involving key stakeholders such as BEIS, OFGEM, TCE, DEFRA, DfT, MoD and others is welcomed.
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