Is the UK clearing a pathway to more electrification?

Rinnai’s Chris Goggin reviews the UK’s approach to extending and enhancing electrical grid connections to recently constructed renewable energy projects. He looks at how focus could be applied to the potential impact on UK customer options.

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Every major country is trying to decarbonise all industrial and commercial operations, knowing that current fossil fuel usage is environmentally unsustainable. Therefore, each notable international economy is currently drafting future energy policy objectives that complement respective domestic energy mixes.

It is a widely believed amongst professionals inside the industry that a range of energies will need to be utilised in realising the target of reducing national carbon loads. As part of the UK plan to decarbonise domestic, commercial and industrial activities widespread electrification will become the major contributor towards reducing national and global carbon outputs.

Widespread electrification is a main objective by UK policy makers who aim to impose the cheapest electricity costs on UK households in the European region by 2035. Over the next 10 years electricity demand is predicted to double, by 2050 UK electrical demand and usage will be twice the amount that is consumed today.

To satisfy future electrical supply and demand the UK National Grid has announced plans for the “Great Grid Upgrade.” The national grid requires adapting due to a transition away from fossil fuels through electrification. The current UK grid was designed to transport coal fired energy generated from geographically positioned power stations.

Substantial amounts of energy consumed across the UK is now produced from areas that are situated away from the power stations. Offshore wind and solar energy is generated away from UK land, in rural and seaward locations. To cargo renewable energy across the UK means the construction of new electrical grid connections must be created to ensure easy distribution routes.

The total cost of the upgrade is thought to be around £16 billion (Fund Calibre, Yardley, 2024) and will include grid connections to offshore wind and rural solar installations that allows for the easy transfer of renewable power to all corners of Britain.

Further electrical grid connections and upgrade projects are being pursued that will also aid in the access of renewable energy to the UK electrical grid resulting in lower customer costs. The UK and Denmark have collaborated in constructing a link that stretches for 475 miles joining Lincolnshire and southern Jutland.

The Viking Link required £1.7 billion of investment and is capable of powering 2.5 million UK households. National Grid estimate that the new connection will result in £500 million of savings for UK customers in its first 10 years by enabling a clear path of trade that compliments seasonal demand and price between the two countries.

The UK and Netherlands governments have also announced plans to construct a submarine interconnection that will allow both countries to transfer and trade clean offshore wind generated electricity. The Lion Link will produce 1.8GW of energy – enough to power 2.5 million homes and is due to be operational around 2030. (Info available at National grid website)

Scottish Power will also upgrade their transmission network over the next 10 years costing £5.4 billion. These upgrades will contribute 80-85GW of clean renewable electricity to the British grid.

Significant work is being completed to adapting and connecting the UK transmission network to clean low-cost electricity. Domestic upgrades and submarine interconnections linking the UK with two additional countries should theoretically provide cost effective supplies of green power to UK businesses and homes.

Contractors, specifiers, system designers and installers should target manufacturers of decarbonising heating and hot water systems that have aligned their product options within future and current energy policy.

Rinnai will continue to provide UK customers with factual information that influences customer purchasing options with the aim of improving UK customer decision making in domestic and commercial decarbonising heating and hot water systems. Rinnai continue to monitor all domestic and global news related to all energy matters.

To take advantage of Rinnai design services and find optimum solution for your next project use our smart carbon calculation services today