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£60m electricity network investment earmarked to boost green recovery

We areinvesting an extra £60m into the development of our electricity network that will help to support the connection of new customers, including green projects over the next two years.

The investment will not only play a critical role in driving a green recovery that will benefit local jobs and the economy, but will provide key network upgrades to support the emerging technologies needed for a Net Zero future.

We will upgrade and build new electrical infrastructure and substations, also helping to enable more green developments, such as electric vehicle chargers, mass heat pump installations and renewable generation, such as solar parks, to connect to the electricity network. This investment will also support the future electricity needs in the local areas as our reliance on electricity to heat our homes and travel increases. We expect that up to 1.5million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps will be used to keep us moving and heat our homes by 2028.

Over 70 investment projects across our region will be completed over the next two years. These projects were shortlisted with the help of information provided by a number of local authorities and organisations who provided details of forthcoming green development schemes that demonstrated environmental and societal benefits.

Investment will support more electric vehicle chargers for commuters as we move to greener modes of transport. WPD estimates that 1.5million electric vehicles will be on the roads in their region by 2028.

The investment would increase the available network capacity for demand growth by 617 megawatts – That’s equivalent to connecting 171,000 heat pumps, 385,000 domestic Electric Vehicle chargers or 12,000 rapid Electric Vehicle chargers. The investment will also allow for an added 589MW of generation growth, which equates to around 118 more large solar farms.

The projects range in size, with some supporting small villages or towns with new local substations or upgraded electricity cabling, to larger schemes benefitting a wider area. Once complete, the schemes will provide greater network capacity, facilitating new connections in an area, including green developments, such as superfast electric vehicle charging in towns and along trunk roads and motorways. Green developments like these will ensure that drivers will have the charging facilities necessary when travelling across the country and that there is sufficient charging available for the influx of electric vehicles on our roads and ahead of the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by the UK government. Our projects will provide network capacity to enable this in all four of our areas, including investments near Northampton, Norton Canes, Cardiff Gate and Gordano.

Graham Halladay, WPD's Operations Director, commented: “The investment is another signal of our determination to support the country’s Net Zero ambitions. During the pandemic, we have continued to innovate and find ways of lowering carbon footprint, and we will now play a pivotal role in driving a green recovery. Our wide-ranging projects will help with some of our biggest Net Zero challenges, including electric vehicle range anxiety, battery storage and the decarbonisation of our heating systems. The time is now to cut emissions and ensure the clean and sustainable future of generations to come and we are proud and delighted to play a vital role in this.”

The green recovery investment has the potential to support 171,000 extra heat pump installations in customer’s homes.

Some of the green recovery projects include:

Truro, Cornwall: Replacement of existing electrical equipment as well as an increase of 30MW capacity. This is equivalent to an extra 18,000 domestic EV chargers, 600 rapid EV chargers, or over 8,000 heat pumps being installed, as well as six large solar parks. This will particularly benefit off-grid heating as well as future renewable energy generation that is expected in the area.

Buith Wells: investment in multiple network upgrades near Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells. This could potentially support renewable generation growth in these areas, as well as the installation of multiple rapid or ultra rapid EV chargers in rural tourist areas across the Brecon Beacons National Park and Shropshire Hills.

Gloucester: Extension of network towards Gloucester Services as well as 8MW capacity for added demand and 6MW capacity for added generation. This could support the growth of 160 rapid electric vehicle chargers at the motorway services as well as the surrounding area.

Nottingham: Installation of a new substation in the city centre, adding 24MW of extra capacity for demand and 18MW capacity for generation. This equates to over 6,500 heat pumps or around 500 rapid EV chargers in the city. These will support the forthcoming growth in low carbon technologies in the coming years and supports the City Council’s ambition to make Nottingham the first carbon neutral city by 2028.

More information can be found here.

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  • Your Power Future
  • DSO/Smart Networks