National Grid is inviting approaches from key supply chain partners as it attempts to deliver what it calls the “largest overhaul in generations” of Britain’s backbone transmission.
The Great Grid Upgrade Partnership is NG’s recruitment drive to deliver new infrastructure, relieving choke points as well as the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Renewables developers reporting waits of a decade and more to secure distribution connections have put the privatised national transmission operator under pressure, provoking sustained criticism from MPs, and from Tim Pick, the government’s observer overseeing expanded wind generation.
The NG’s Great Grid Upgrade begins with nine onshore projects in England and Wales, to be enacted under the Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment ( ASTI ) framework. It targets £4.5 billion of grid spending this decade.
Two design and consenting service contractors and up to six construction partners are sought to help the operator deliver new overhead lines and substations.
The Grid says the £4.5 billion GGU initiative underlines its commitment to investing in the jobs, skills and people required to help deliver the energy transition. It cites UK government estimates that upgrading Britain’s onshore network could support up to 130,000 jobs and contribute between £4 and £11 billion of gross value added to Great Britain’s economy by 2050.
Taking an ‘enterprise partnership’ approach will, says NG, foster delivery of working between projects, enabling the supply chain to combine capacity, capability, knowledge and experience to accelerate delivery and deliver cost efficiencies.
Matt Staley, the operator’s director of onshore delivery, said: “The government ambition of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 demands unprecedented scale and complexity of action. It is essential that we unite as a sector and as an industry to rise to this challenge.
“In our Great Grid Upgrade Partnership we are looking for partners with a history of successful collaboration, innovation, sustainable practice and commitment to responsible business.
“By taking a partnership approach, we aim to deliver integrated planning and working between projects, enabling the supply chain to accelerate delivery and deliver cost efficiencies – in turn delivering value for money for consumers and working with local communities to leave a positive legacy.
“By working together we can connect more clean, renewable energy from where it’s generated out at sea to where it’s needed, helping contribute to lower energy bills over the long-term, providing a catalyst for a green jobs boom and making the UK’s energy more self-sufficient.”