The UK has the longest queue to connect to the electricity grid of any country in Europe. There are about 200 gigawatts worth of electricity projects waiting for a grid connection, according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, or enough to power 150m UK homes. In the past, National Grid –  the FTSE 100 company tasked with operating most of the UK’s electricity networks – needed to provide connection points for fewer, larger power plants. Today, a far larger number of small, renewable energy projects are mushrooming up across the UK to meet rising demand for electricity from homes and businesses. Recently, MPs on the Commons environmental audit committee opened an inquiry into how to ease the backlog of solar projects waiting to connect to the grid that “could seriously jeopardise net zero Britain”. Clean electricity plans can be stuck for over a decade because of ‘negligence’ by governments over modernising networks, say renewable energy developers as highlighted in the following article. ‘Lack of vision’: UK green energy projects in limbo as grid struggles to keep pace. There was some better news last week when the  National Grid announced increased investment plans to £42bn by 2026. They also offered energy developers an “amnesty deal” earlier this year to urge developers to get on with their projects or get out of the queue for a grid connection with no financial penalty resulting in shaving 5GW from the backlog.

We are not the only country that needs to improve their grid. The entire electric grid in the United States has installed capacity of about 1,250 gigawatts of power and there is currently 2,020 gigawatts of energy capacity waiting in line to be connected.  Wind and solar power generators wait in yearslong lines to put clean electricity on the grid, then face huge interconnection fees they can’t afford.

Globally investment needs to double to more than $600bn a year by 2030 after a decade of stagnation’, says the International Energy Agency. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, has warned that the equivalent of the entire global electricity grid – 80 m km of grid – needs to be added or refurbished by 2040 to hit climate targets and ensure reliable power supplies. Global investment in energy grids needs to double to more than $600bn (£492bn) a year by 2030 to hit national climate targets after “over a decade of stagnation at the global level”, the IEA said.

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Other Media News

A new climate change and sustainability themed series of programs on BBC iPlayer called ‘Future Earth’ have been brought to my attention. Two out of the four episodes have been broadcast so far; the first explores  the challenges cities and urbanised areas face as temperatures rise and the second is about  how young people are engaging and learning about climate change.

On BBC Sounds the latest episode of ‘CrowdScience’ is about climate change and asks the question  ‘What will 1.5 degrees of warming look like?’ Also on BBC Sounds this week’s ‘The Climate Question’ is  ‘Why are climate scientists receiving abuse?‘