ACT NOW: Is your ‘shovel ready’ green project stalled by network issues? DNOs need data to help direct £300M to low-carbon hotspots

Developers, local authorities and other parties with low-carbon projects that could connect to the electricity network in the next two years have six weeks to help direct up to £300M of network investment towards ‘hot spots’, with the aim of enabling fast investment in decarbonisation projects.

Information about ‘shovel-ready’ projects that have been held up by the cost or availability of network capacity should be submitted by 19 March to distribution network operators (DNOs) via a call for evidence run by the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

The information will be used to target reinforcement in areas with significant green activity, bringing the network closer to green projects. This should bring forward stalled projects and reduce their cost of connection. ENA says the aim of the project is to support the Green Recovery by targeting investment in networks where there is expected to be significant green activity in the next year or two.

The funding is aimed at new projects that are struggling to be justified due to network infrastructure costs, rather than those that can or have already been paid for.

Projects can be submitted even if they do not have full land rights or planning permission fully agreed when the call for evidence closes. But ENA said, “the more information and evidence that you can provide to us the better. If this information exists, it will further evidence the fact that your scheme is shovel-ready or can be quickly deployed, which is one of the key aims of this Green Recovery scheme.”

This investment will be directed to the most efficient projects offering flexibility, whole-systems solutions and ‘least-regrets’ expenditure.

The core criteria are:

  • Utilisation (how much of the capacity might be used in the near term)
  • Deliverability (e.g. how quickly infrastructure and solutions could be completed)
  • Value for money (including wider societal benefits that can be achieved).

The funding will not cover the costs of the third party project/equipment, nor the sole-use connection assets.

The ENA insists that it wants information covering any technology, but it says the scheme will be co-ordinated with and support wider schemes, such as a pathfinder for OLEV’s Project Rapid.

Projects which are not able to meet the timeline in this call for evidence should submit evidence to energy network operators for inclusion in their RIIO-ED2 business plans, now being developed, which will be submitted to Ofgem and cover investment in the networks over the period 2023-2028. ENA says this scheme will pave the way for “collaborative and agile” investment in  RIIO2.

The Call for Evidence is here

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