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UK Ofgem unveils action plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 [free access]

February 3, 2020

The UK energy regulator, Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), has unveiled its ‘Decarbonisation Action Plan’, which aims to build a system that supports the growth of renewable energy sources (RES) and 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. The action plan details nine steps the regulator will take in the next 18 months to achieve the UK’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050.


Some of the aforementioned steps include setting up a regulatory fund; building adaptability into its price controls to ensure network companies invest efficiently; exploring regulatory options to support rapid expansion of an offshore grid to enable four-fold increase in offshore wind generation by 2030; developing a regulatory strategy on EVs; and creating a more flexible electricity system to ensure consumers benefit from the transition.


One of the plan’s nine points focuses on better collaboration and planning in offshore energy transmission. Specifically, according to Ofgem, the current frameworks relating to developing and connecting offshore wind generation in the UK needs to be reviewed due to the government’s high expectations for offshore wind. In 2019, the UK government announced its ambitious plan of achieving 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 from the currently installed 10 GW.


Presently, the UK offshore wind farm developers design and install standalone transmission links to connect their projects to the shore, before Ofgem auctions off the connection to an offshore transmission owner (OFTO). However, with more offshore projects coming up, Ofgem will now consider a more coordinated offshore transmission system that could reduce both financial and environmental costs; as it does not consider individual radial offshore transmission links likely to be economical, sensible or acceptable for consumers and local communities.


According to Ofgem, along with the government and other stakeholders, it will now look at potential projects that integrate international interconnectors with offshore transmission networks.