UK Renewable energy projects worth billions stuck on hold

LONDON - The UK currently has a 2035 target for 100% of its electricity to be produced without carbon emissions.

But meeting the target will require a big increase in the number of renewable projects across the country. It is estimated as much as five times more solar and four times as much wind is needed.

The government and private investors have spent £198bn on renewable power infrastructure since 2010. But now energy companies are warning that significant delays to connect their green energy projects to the system will threaten their ability to bring more green power online.

A new wind farm or solar site can only start supplying energy to people's homes once it has been plugged into the grid.

Energy companies like Octopus Energy, one of Europe's largest investors in renewable energy, say they have been told by National Grid that they need to wait up to 15 years for some connections - far beyond the government's 2035 target.

'Longest grid queues in Europe'
There are currently more than £200bn worth of projects sitting in the connections queue, the BBC has calculated.

Around 40% of them face a connection wait of at least a year, according to National Grid's own figures. That represents delayed investments worth tens of billions of pounds.

"We currently have one of the longest grid queues in Europe," according to Zoisa North-Bond, chief executive of Octopus Energy Generation.

The problem is so many new renewable projects are applying for connections, the grid cannot keep up.

The system was built when just a few fossil fuel power plants were requesting a connection each year, but now there are 1,100 projects in the queue.


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