02 Feb 2024

Connections Utility

Electricity North West enables more than 2GW of additional network capacity

Electricity North West's capacity graphic

Electricity North West has announced that it has successfully enabled an additional 2.4GW of network capacity, providing more opportunity for connections in the region.

Despite being the smallest of the distribution network operators, Electricity North West, which serves 2.4m customers from Cheshire to Cumbria, has been able to provide the extra capacity to continue meeting demand for new connections.

Customer and connections director Steph Trubshaw, said: “We are tackling the challenge to provide capacity for new connections head on as we continue to innovate and expand our network to meet the needs of our customers.

“We have now provided an additional 1.4GW from our implementation of technical limits at our network interface with the National Grid and another 1GW from enhancing our policies to adapt to new technologies.”

Electricity North West is working with Energy Networks Association alongside other distribution network operators, National Grid Transmission, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and Ofgem to find solutions to the increasing demand for generation connections.

Electricity North West has agreed new technical limits with the ESO for five of its grid supply points (GSPs) allowing earlier non-firm network access to customers ahead of their current consented transmission connection date.

Steph continued: “In the North West over the past four years we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of connections quotes over 1MW that have been accepted by customers and also in the average capacity being requested for each scheme, which has increased from 10MW in 2019/20 to 45MW in 2023/24.

“To put that in context the aggregate capacity of new connections has increased 10-fold from just under 400MW in 2020 to more than 4GW this year alone. The pipeline of such schemes for the region has now increased to 9GW. That’s double the current demand on the whole of the North West network and three times as much generation capacity as is currently connected in the region.

“From as far back as April last year, we changed key policies in how we assess the impact of new connections taking a pragmatic approach informed by real world use of the network. We were the first network operator to do this, and our customers are now benefiting from that continued approach meaning we can connect as much as possible as quickly as possible.

“We’re taking some decisive action and pulling together as an industry and while also recognising the process to ensure fairness to all applicants.

“We’re continuing to engage with customers, stakeholders and the industry, and we also have long-term investment plans in place to continue to meet growing demand for connections to our network. We hope to enable another 1GW in the coming months by agreeing technical limits with the ESO for a further four GSPs."

For more information on Electricity North West’s approach to enabling capacity, go to www.enwl.co.uk/capacity.