The National Grid’s Energy Electricity Systems Operator (ESO) has published its “Beyond 2030” report. It calls for up to £60 billion in investment to the electricity grid to meet the UK’s 2035 decarbonisation goals, including growing the offshore wind sector and clean energy jobs.

Boosting offshore wind to the benefit of Great Britain

By investing further in wind power, the ESO plan aims to connect another 21GW of offshore wind from the coast of Scotland. This would bring Great Britain’s total wind capacity up to 86GW, further cementing its position as a world leader in offshore wind.

For comparison, the Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that there is currently 63GW of offshore wind installed globally. By further growing Scotland’s wind supply, there will be over 30GW of offshore wind available in Scottish waters, compared to just 6GW of peak demand in the country. The plan outlines that this excess energy can then be shared across Scotland and the rest of Britain.

Another facet of the plan includes developing an ‘electrical spine’ that runs from the North to the South, potentially stretching from Peterhead to Merseyside. While this proposal is still very much in its early stages, it has the potential to support homes and businesses across Scotland and Northern England with locally produced electricity, further enhancing the UK’s energy security.

Green jobs and a lift to the economy

By 2035, the proposed ESO plan would lead to a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035, which keeps in line with the Sixth Carbon Budget. Furthermore, it points to creating and maintaining over 20,000 jobs annually, with roughly 90% of the benefits occurring outside London and the Southeast.

Fintan Slye, Executive Director of ESO said, “Great Britain’s electricity system is the backbone of our economy and must be fit for our future. ESO’s Beyond 2030 network design outlines recommendations on the investment needed and how and where to coordinate the build of this new critical national infrastructure.

“To deliver the clean, secure, decarbonised system set out by Government and Devolved Governments we must take swift, coordinated and lasting action working collaboratively across all parts of the energy sector, government, the regulator and within our communities.”