1,300 clean power projects facing delays, says LGA

Local Government Association says communities wait years, in some cases decades, for projects that have planning permission to actually be built. 

The LGA is calling for the government to dramatically increase the pace at which energy-generating projects are connected to the national grid, and to give councils the resource they need to develop local energy plans, share investment and develop local grids.

Rows of blue solar panels in a green field

Photo by Markus Spiske 

As we’ve reported in the past few months, there has been a noticeable rise in clean power schemes granted permission by councils. The number has doubled almost every year since 2018. Solar and wind are probably the best known of these kinds of projects, but there are schemes to generate energy from green sources including biomass, hydrogen, sewage, waste and water.  

Hundreds of solar and wind farms are ready to be built but the LGA reports that communities have to wait years. For example, a plan has been submitted for a solar farm in Coventry but the earliest it can be connected to the national grid is 2028. The situation is even worse in Dorset, with some projects told that connections will not be possible until 2036. 

In fact, of more than 1,300 renewable energy schemes that have been granted permission to proceed, just 150 are under construction. Of those awaiting construction, the solar schemes alone would generate an estimated 15,000 megawatts a day, enough to power 1.9m homes.  

Delays in connecting to the national grid is often cited as the key obstacle to getting new energy power projects off the ground. 

Last month, the UK’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) warned energy generators to ‘Get on, get back or get out of the energy queue’ as it took urgent action to speed up grid connections. Some 220 projects are due to connect to the national system by 2026, providing a total of 40GW – more than double the peak demand of the whole UK during the summer. Yet, reported the ESO, just half of these had received planning consent, and some put back their own connection dates by up to 14 years. 

Cllr Linda Taylor, environment spokesperson for the LGA, says: ‘Our transition to a secure and sustainable future relies on continued growth in renewable energy. It’s fantastic to see a rapid rise in planning permissions for green energy projects. However, the numbers awaiting construction is concerning, with many pointing to delays in securing the grid infrastructure that connects solar panels to kettles. 

‘It’s a big challenge and there is a huge effort underway. Councils want to play their full role but need the resources and powers for local energy plans to shape the grid investments so essential to a secure and sustainable future.’

In related news:

New website makes it easier to install solar panels in Newcastle

Wind farm to produce Irn Bru


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top